Painter, draughtsman, sculptor, illustrator, commercial artist, photographer and art writer
The Belgian artist Fernand Edmond Jean Marie Khnopff was born in Grembergen, Flanders, in 1858, and grew up in Bruges and Brussels. Khnopff worked as a painter, sculptor, printmaker, photographer and writer, and was one of the most important representatives of Symbolism. His works frequently seem gloomy and mysterious. He rendered his seemingly ambivalent female subjects primarily in muted, dark tones. Khnopff first studied law in Brussels, but in 1876 transferred to the Academy of Fine Arts. In travels to Paris and England he became acquainted with Eugène Delacroix and the Pre-Raphaelites, but was also influenced by the works of such Symbolist writers as Gustave Flaubert, Charles Baudelaire and Georges Rodenbach. Beginning in 1878 he attended the well-known Académie Julian in Paris. He first showed his works at the Paris Salon in 1884. In 1898 he was able to exhibit at the Vienna Secession, where he influenced the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. From 1903 on he designed sets for a number of theatre pieces. Khnopff died in Brussels in 1921.