Publisher description for Fernand Khnopff : portrait of Jeanne Kefer / Michel Draguet.


Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog


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The Belgian artist, illustrator, sculptor, and photographer Fernand Khnopff (1858-1921) became a popular society portraitist in the 1880s, using elements that had served him well as an avant-garde symbolist painter: visual realism and a mood of silence, isolation, and reverie. As in the
provocative yet hauntingly beautiful Portrait of Jeanne Kifer, which is the focus of this book, he frequently posed his models leaning against a closed door, flattening the space and resulting in a meditative, hermetically sealed image. Jeanne Kifer was the daughter of a composer friend of the
artist, and Khnopff deftly captured the child's vulnerability to the outside world in the small gesture of her tiny thumb catching the edge of her bow.
The book places this painting in the historical context of Khnopff's times and social milieu, such as the advent of symbolism as a literary and artistic movement and the influence of James McNeill Whistler. The analysis of the portrait is supported by a stunning array of related paintings, details,
and technical photographs. Finally, the author uses Khnopff's portraits as a springboard for a broader discussion of symbolist art.


Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Khnopff, Fernand, -- 1858-1921. -- Jeanne K‚efer.
Khnopff, Fernand, -- 1858-1921 -- Criticism and interpretation.
Symbolism (Art movement) -- Belgium.