The Game Warden, Fernand Khnopff
Fernand Khnopff
The Game Warden
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Fernand Khnopff

The Game Warden, 1883

151.0 x 176.5 cm
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1926 as a gift from Walther Ratenau’s mother in Memory of her son
On display, 1st upper level, Modern Art, room 6


About the Work

The landscapes the Belgian Symbolist Khnopff painted around Fosset in the Ardennes at different times of his life are mostly deserted. This painting, too, seems strangely lifeless, in spite of the presence of the game warden. Seemingly withdrawn, he is standing stiff as a board in the meadow. As if he had been added to the unspectacular setting with hindsight, he is not even casting a shadow. This shows that the artist was concerned not with the representation of exterior reality but with inner awareness.

About the Acquisition

At the request of Mathilde Rathenau (1845-1926), a native of Frankfurt, a number of paintings were presented to the Städel in 1926 in memory of her son Walther Rathenau (1867-1922). Walther Rathenau, an industrialist and one of the co-founders of the German Democratic Party, was appointed foreign minister in January 1922. In June of that year he was assassinated in Berlin by the Organisation Consul, whose aim was to fight the Weimar Constitution.

Audio & Video

  • Basic information
  • Focus on art history
  • Focus on cultural history
  • KunstIStück – Fernand Khnopff: Der Jagdaufseher
    Sammlungshighlights des Städel Museums in unterhaltsamen und informativen Filmen – das sind die Kunst|Stücke. Entdecken Sie spannende Details zu Kunstwerken aus ungewöhnlichen Blickwinkeln in unter zwei Minuten. Fernand Khnopff: Der Jagdaufseher, 1883, Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main.

Work Data

Basic Information

The Game Warden
Period Produced
Object Type
Physical Description
Oil on canvas
Label at the Time of Manufacture
Signiert und datiert unten rechts: FERNAND KHNOPFF. 1883

Property and Acquisition

Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main
Picture Copyright
Public Domain
Acquired in 1926 as a gift from Walther Ratenau’s mother in Memory of her son

Work Content

Motifs and References

Main Motif


  • 41A16 rural housing, e.g. country-house, villa, cottage
  • 25H17 meadow, pasture
  • 25G3 trees

Research and Discussion


Object History
Walther Rathenau (1867-1922), Berlin
Nachlass Walther Rathenau, Berlin, 1922
Vermächtnis Mathilde Rathenau-Nachmann (1845-1926), Berlin zum Andenken an ihren Sohn Walther Rathenau (1867-1922) an das Städelsche Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main, 1926.


Since 2001, the Städel Museum has systematically been researching the provenance of all objects that were acquired during the National Socialist period, or that changed owners or could have changed owners during those years. The basis for this research is the “Washington Declaration”, also known as the “Washington Conference Principles”, formulated at the 1998 “Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets” and the subsequent “Joint Declaration”.

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