Fernand Khnopff master of the enigma at the Petit Palais
#PARIS Fernand Khnopff, Belgian painter (1858-1921) and master of symbolism, is in the spotlight until next spring at the Petit Palais
Painter but also draughtsman, engraver and sculptor, visitors will discover 150 pieces by the artist through this retrospective.The first room recreates the vestibule of his studio, and the scenography takes up the colours of his interior – blue, (almost Klein) black, white and gold. It provides the exhibition with a breath of fresh air and is intended to be a response to the artist’s personality
Through the large rooms of the Petite Palais, we navigate through the major themes that mark his work: landscapes, portraits of children, reveries inspired by the Flemish Primitives, memories of Bruges-la-Morte, complex uses of photography up to personal mythologies placed under the sign of Hypnos. A reason which appears in a recurrent way in the subject of this artist fascinated by ancient myths.
What probably strikes us the most and that we will make you notice is the absence in the eyes of women of his paintings, a void that evokes death, a distance that evokes another world. His “mysterious” compositions, populated by inaccessible women, surrounded by objects loaded with symbols or immersed in a reverie, will impose themselves as a new pictorial trend.
Moreover, his sister Marguerite, with whom he maintains a great complicity, will become his model, his muse! She will be the subject of many photographic portraits.
Then we are invited to settle in the “symbolist lounge” where we meet books, photographs, literary, theatrical and musical activities. This lounge, like all the rooms, is always marked by this intense and soft blue at the same time. Like an echo to the artist, this “interior” man who said: “Sleep is the most divine thing in our existence.”
It’s this taste of Fernand Khnopff for the encounter of unusual objects that heralds surrealism, wasn’t Magritte a great admirer of his thought?
Fernand Khnopff, The Master of the Enigma
from December 11, 2018 to March 17, 2019
Avenue Winston Churchill
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