Jeanne Kéfer

Object Details

Title:

Jeanne Kéfer

Artist/Maker(s):

Fernand Khnopff (Belgian, 1858 - 1921)

Culture:

Belgian

Date:

1885

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

80 x 80 cm (31 1/2 x 31 1/2 in.)

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Fernand Khnopff depicted the daughter of a composer friend on a porch before a closed door, with her tiny thumb catching the edge of her bow as she reaches into her coat. With this small gesture, Khnopff captured the child's vulnerability and uncertainty in facing the outside world. To further evoke a child's perception of a world scaled for grown-ups, he framed Jeanne Kéfer's tiny body against the adult-sized door and tilted the floor ever so slightly.

Jeanne is further isolated by the free, abstract brushwork in the reflective door window behind her. Typical for Khnopff, Jeanne is not warm and inviting but cut off in the shallow background, a fixed haunting gaze on her face.

Khnopff became a popular society portrait painter in the 1880s, using elements that served him well as an avant-garde Symbolist painter: visual realism and a mood of silence, isolation, and reverie. He frequently posed his models leaning against a closed door, flattening the space and resulting in a meditative, hermetically sealed image.

Provenance
1885 -

Gustav Kéfer (Brussels, Belgium), commissioned from the artist, 1885.

Hugo Engle (Paris, France)

by 1957

Rapps Konsthandel (Stockholm, Sweden)

by 1987

Private Collection (Sweden)

by 1990

Private Collection [unsold, Christie's, London, November 30, 1990, lot 80.]

by 1997

Private Collection [unsold, Christie's, London, March 21, 1997, lot 44.]

1997

Christie's (London), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997.

Exhibitions
Les XX (1886) (Cat. 4)
  • Palais des beaux-arts (Brussels), 1886
L'Art Indépendant (March to April, 1887) (Cat. 85)
  • Palais De L'Industrie, Des Arts Et Du Commerce, (Antwerp), 1887
Society of Portrait Painters (Second Exhibition) (1892) (Cat. 166)
  • Royal Institute (London), 1892
Festa dell'arte e dei fiori (December 19, 1896 to March 31, 1897) (Cat. 44)
Internationalen Kunst-Ausstellung des Vereins bildender Künstler Münchens (A. V.) "Secession" 1898 (1898) (Cat. 100)
  • Königliche Kunstausstellungsgebäude, (Munich), 1898
Fernand Khnopff et ses rapports avec la Secession viennoise (October 2 to December 6, 1987) (Cat. 24)
  • Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, (Brussels), October 2 to December 6, 1987
Fernand Khnopff (June 8 to November 11, 1990) (Cat. 5)
  • The Bunkamura Museum of Art, (Tokyo), June 8 to July 8, 1990
  • Himeji City Museum of Art, (Himeji), July 14 to August 12, 1990
  • Nagoya City Art Museum, (Nagoya), August 18 to September 30, 1990
  • Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art, (Kofu-shi), October 7 to November 11, 1990
Impressionism to Symbolism: The Belgian Avant-Garde 1880-1900 (July 7 to October 2, 1994) (Cat. 29)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), July 7 to October 2, 1994
Du réalisme au symbolisme: l'avant-garde belge 1880-1900 (July 8 to October 15, 1995) (Cat. 32)
  • Fondation Saint-Jean, (Bruges), July 8 to October 15, 1995
Fernand Khnopff (1858-1921) (January 15 to September 26, 2004) (Cat. 79)
  • Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, (Brussels), January 16 to May 9, 2004
Pictorialist Photography and Painting (May 22 to September 7, 2014) (Cat. 79)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 22 to September 7, 2014
Related Media
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    Audio: Portrait of Jeanne Kefer