Fernand KHNOPFF (1889) or the ginger obsession

Head of a Woman Fernand KhnopffFernand-Edmond-Jean-Marie KHNOPFF (1858-1921) is a Belgian symbolist painter. In 1883 he becomes one of the founders of the Brussels group The twenty. In his art he is influenced by the Pre-Rafael movement that used red haired women as models. His sister, Marguerite, who he admires and becomes his main model, is beautiful woman with flamboyant red hair. Later, other red haired women, like the daughters of architect Henri Marquet will become his models, but his main inspiration remains mysterious and pure women, symbolized by the redness of their hair.

In some of his masterpieces he uses the sanguine, a type of red chalk, to be able to really recreate as best as possible the redness of his models’ hair. It is believed he used the sanguine on purpose, to be able to represent the violent and impulsive character of his red haired women models, that he, himself, qualifies as “sanguine”.

Le sphynx ou les caresses