Fernand Khnopff was second to no one in the way his pictures, from the 1890s onward, captured the fin-de-siècle mood. Indeed, the unqualified success he met with at the 1st Exhibition of the Secession was undoubtedly due to how precisely his pictorial figurations coincided with the moods prevalent in pre-turn-of-the-century Vienna. This effect was in no way diminished by the fact that other artists of his generation, who were active in Vienna and had their works presented at exhibitions, were working along similar lines. There is no question that Khnopff was important at the time — his influence on many artists, e. g. on Klimt, is beyond dispute — yet we must not blind ourselves to the fact that artists both of his generation and older ones, such as Wilhelm Bernatzik, Karl Wilhelm Diefenbach and Friedrich Konig, arrived almost simultaneously and independently of Khnopff, perhaps without ever having seen or met him, at comparable figurations. — Andrea Domesle


Artistic Relations

Resources on the Web


Fernand Khnopff (1858-1921). Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2004.

Intermezzo: Gustav Klimt und Wien un 1900/Gustav Klimt and Vienna around 1900. Salzburg: Museum der Moderne Rupertinum, 2004.

Jullian, Philippe. Dreamers of Decadence: Symbolist Painters of the 1890s. Trans. Robert Baldick. London: Pall Mall, 1971.

Jullian, Philippe. The Symbolists. Trans. Mary Ann Stevens. London: Phaidon, 1973.

Last modified 5 October 2017