The exhibition brings together around one hundred emblematic examples of the complex aesthetic of Fernand Khnopff, who was a painter, draftsman, engraver, sculptor and the stage director of his personal work.
The artist toys with themes, from portraits to dreamlike memories, from fantasy to the nude, and invites reverie and a meditation on identity. Khnopff’s major works are counterpointed with those of artistic contemporaries, from Gustave Moreau to Klimt and Von Stuck, which allows situating him in the context of fin-de-siècle Europe. The exhibition design attempts to re-create the initiatory pathway of the false dwelling that served as his workshop, like the
one in Stoclet Palace in Brussels, where Belgian and Viennese aesthetics encountered each other. Non-chronological, it presents instead the major themes that permeate Khnopff’s work: from landscapes, portraits of children and reveries inspired by the Flemish Primitives to memories of Bruges-la-Morte and the complex use of photography, all the way to personal mythologies under the sign of Hypnos.
Michel Draguet, Director of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium; Christophe Leribault, Director of the Petit Palais; Dominique Morel, Chief Curator at the Petit Palais