Paul Poiret was a leading French fashion designer, a master couturier during the first two decades of the 20th century. He was the founder of his namesake haute couture house, his contributions to his field have been likened to Picasso's legacy in 20th-century art. Poiret was born on 20 April 1879 to a cloth merchant in the poor neighborhood of Paris, his parents, in an effort to rid him of his natural pride, apprenticed him to an umbrella maker. There, he collected scraps of silk left over from the cutting of umbrella patterns, fashioned clothes for a doll that one of his sisters had given him. While a teenager, Poiret took his sketches to Louise Chéruit, a prominent dressmaker, who purchased a dozen from him. Poiret continued to sell his drawings to major Parisian couture houses, until he was hired by Jacques Doucet in 1896, his first design, a red cloth cape, sold 400 copies. Poiret moved to the House of Worth, where he was responsible for designing simple, practical dresses; the "brazen modernity of his designs," however, proved too much for Worth's conservative clientele.
When Poiret presented the Russian Princess Bariatinsky with a Confucius coat with an innovative kimono-like cut, for instance, she exclaimed, "What a horror! When there are low fellows who run after our sledges and annoy us, we have their heads cut off, we put them in sacks just like that." Poiret established his own house in 1903, made his name with his controversial kimono coat and similar, loose-fitting designs created for an uncorseted, slim figure. He threw sensational parties to draw attention to his work, his instinct for marketing and branding was unmatched by any other Parisian designer, although the pioneering fashion shows of the British-based Lucile had attracted tremendous publicity. In 1909, he was so famous, Margot Asquith, wife of British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, invited him to show his designs at 10 Downing Street; the cheapest garment at the exhibition was 30 guineas, double the annual salary of a scullery maid. Poiret's house expanded to encompass interior fragrance. In 1911, he introduced “Parfums de Rosine,” named after his daughter, becoming the first French couturier to launch a signature fragrance, although again the London designer Lucile had preceded him with a range of in-house perfumes as early as 1907.
In 1911 Poiret unveiled “Parfums de Rosine" with a flamboyant soiree held at his palatial home, attended by the cream of Parisian society and the artistic world. Poiret fancifully christened the event “la mille et deuxième nuit”, inspired by the fantasy of a sultan's harem, his gardens were illuminated by lanterns, set with tents, live, tropical birds. Madame Poiret herself luxuriated in a golden cage. Poiret was the reigning sultan, gifting each guest with a bottle of his new fragrance creation, appropriately named to befit the occasion, “Nuit Persane.” His marketing strategy, played out as entertainment, became the talk of Paris. A second scent debuted in 1912 - “Le Minaret,” again emphasizing the harem theme. In 1911, publisher Lucien Vogel dared photographer Edward Steichen to promote fashion as a fine art in his work. Steichen responded by snapping photos of gowns designed by Poiret, hauntingly backlit and shot at inventive angles; these were published in the April 1911 issue of the magazine Décoration.
According to historian Jesse Alexander, the occasion is "now considered to be the first modern fashion photography shoot," in which garments were imaged as much for their artistic quality as their formal appearance. A year Vogel began his renowned fashion journal La Gazette du Bon Ton, which showcased Poiret's designs, drawn by top illustrators, along with six other leading Paris designers – Louise Chéruit, Georges Doeuillet, Jacques Doucet, Jeanne Paquin and the House of Worth. However, notable couture names were missing from this brilliant assemblage, including such major tastemakers as Lucile, Jeanne Lanvin and the Callot Soeurs. In 1911, Poiret launched the École Martine, a home decor division of his design house, named for his second daughter; the establishment provided artistically inclined, working-class girls with income. In 1911 Poiret leased part of the property at 109 Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré to his friend Henri Barbazanges, who opened the Galerie Barbazanges to exhibit contemporary art.
The building was beside Poiret's 18th century mansion at 26 Avenue d'Antin. Poiret reserved the right to hold two exhibitions each year. One of these was L'Art Moderne en France from 16–31 July 1916, organized by André Salmon. Salmon called the exhibition the "Salon d'Antin". Artists included Pablo Picasso, who showed Les Demoiselles d'Avignon for the first time, Amedeo Modigliani, Moïse Kisling, Manuel Ortiz de Zárate and Marie Vassilieff. Poiret arranged concerts of new music at the gallery in combination with exhibitions of new art; the 1916 Salon d'Antin included readings of poetry by Max Jacob and Guillaume Apollinaire, performances of work by Erik Satie, Darius Milhaud, Igor Stravinsky and Georges Auric. Early in World War I, Poiret left his fashion house to serve the military; when he returned in 1919, the business was on the brink of bankruptcy. New designers like Chanel were producing sleek clothes that relied on excellent workmanship. In comparison, Poiret's elaborate designs seemed poorly manufactured.
Poiret unpopular, in debt, lacking support from his business partners, soon left the fashion empire he ha
The Vienna Secession was an art movement formed in 1897 by a group of Austrian artists who had resigned from the Association of Austrian Artists, housed in the Vienna Künstlerhaus. This movement included painters and architects; the first president of the Secession was Gustav Klimt, Rudolf von Alt was made honorary president. Its official magazine was called Ver Sacrum which featured decorative works representative of the period; the Vienna Secession was founded on 3 April 1897 by artists Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Max Kurzweil, Wilhelm Bernatzik and others. Although Otto Wagner is recognised as an important member of the Vienna Secession he was not a founding member; the Secession artists objected to the prevailing conservatism of the Vienna Künstlerhaus with its traditional orientation toward Historicism. The Berlin and Munich Secession movements preceded the Vienna Secession, which held its first exhibition in 1898; the group's exhibition policy was notable for providing the first dedicated space for contemporary art in the city, with the express aim of making contacts with international art movements and campaigning against nationalism in art.
This helped make others familiar to the Viennese public. The 14th Secession exhibition, designed by Josef Hoffmann and dedicated to Ludwig van Beethoven, was famous. A statue of Beethoven by Max Klinger stood at the center, with Klimt's Beethoven frieze mounted around it; the Klimt frieze can be seen in the gallery today. In 1903, Hoffmann and Moser founded the Wiener Werkstätte as a fine-arts society with the goal of reforming the applied arts. On 14 June 1905 Gustav Klimt and other artists seceded from the Vienna Secession due to differences of opinion over artistic concepts; the movement was as much philosophical as aesthetic. Unlike other movements, there is no one style that unites the work of artists who were part of the Vienna Secession; the Secession building most nearly represents the movement. Above its entrance is the phrase "Der Zeit ihre Kunst. Der Kunst ihre Freiheit.". Secession artists were concerned, above all else, with the possibilities of art outside the confines of academic tradition.
They hoped to create a new style that owed nothing to historical influence, in keeping with the spirit of turn-of-the-century Vienna. Along with painters and sculptors, there were several prominent architects who became associated with the Vienna Secession. During this time, architects focused on bringing purer geometric forms into the designs of their buildings. Though they had their own type of design, the inspiration came from neoclassical architecture, with the addition of leaves and natural motifs; the three main architects of this movement were Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Otto Wagner. Secessionist architects decorated the surface of their buildings with linear ornamentation in a form called whiplash or eel style, although Wagner's buildings tended towards greater simplicity and he has been regarded as a pioneer of modernism. In 1898, the group's exhibition house was built in the vicinity of Karlsplatz. Designed by Joseph Maria Olbrich, the exhibition building soon became known as "the Secession" and became an icon of the movement.
The secession building displayed art from several other influential artists such as Max Klinger, Eugène Grasset, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Arnold Bocklin. Otto Wagner's Majolika Haus in Vienna, part of Vienna Lines houses by Otto Wagner, is a significant example of the Austrian use of line. Other significant works of Otto Wagner include The Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station in Vienna, Austrian Postal Savings Bank in Vienna. Wagner's way of modifying Art Nouveau decoration in a classical manner did not find favour with some of his pupils who broke away to form the Secessionists. One was Josef Hoffmann. A good example of his work is the Stoclet Palace in Brussels; the Secession movement was selected as the theme for a commemorative coin: the 100 euro Secession commemorative coin minted on 10 November 2004. On the obverse side there is a view of the Secession exhibition hall in Vienna; the reverse side features a small portion of the Beethoven Frieze by Gustav Klimt. The extract from the painting features three figures: a knight in armor representing Armed Strength, one woman in the background symbolizing Ambition and holding up a wreath of victory, a second woman representing Sympathy with lowered head and clasped hands.
On the obverse side of the Austrian € 0,50 or 50 euro-cent coin, the Vienna Secession Building figures within a circle, symbolising the birth of art nouveau and a new age in the country. National Gallery, London, 2013, Facing the Modern: The Portrait in Vienna 1900 Schorske, Carl E. "Gustav Klimt: Painting and the Crisis of the Liberal Ego" in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture. Vintage Books, 1981. ISBN 978-0-394-74478-0 Borsi and Ezio Godoli. "Vienna 1900 Architecture and Design". New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc, 1986. ISBN 978-0-8478-0616-4 Arnanson, Harvard H. "History of Modern Art". Ed. Daniel Wheeler. 3rd ed. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc, 1986. ISBN 978-0-13-390360-7. Kathrin Romberg: Maurizio Cattelan. Text by Francesco Bonami, Wiener Secession, Wien. ISBN 3-900803-87-0 Topp, Leslie. "Architecture and truth in fin-de-siecle vienna". Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2004. ISBN 978-0-521-82275-6 "Architecture
Gustav Klimt was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals and other objets d'art. Klimt's primary subject was the female body, his works are marked by a frank eroticism. In addition to his figurative works, which include allegories and portraits, he painted landscapes. Among the artists of the Vienna Secession, Klimt was the most influenced by Japanese art and its methods. Early in his artistic career, he was a successful painter of architectural decorations in a conventional manner; as he developed a more personal style, his work was the subject of controversy that culminated when the paintings he completed around 1900 for the ceiling of the Great Hall of the University of Vienna were criticized as pornographic. He subsequently accepted no more public commissions, but achieved a new success with the paintings of his "golden phase", many of which include gold leaf. Klimt's work was an important influence on his younger contemporary Egon Schiele.
Gustav Klimt was born in Baumgarten, near Vienna in Austria-Hungary, the second of seven children—three boys and four girls. His mother, Anna Klimt, had an unrealized ambition to be a musical performer, his father, Ernst Klimt the Elder from Bohemia, was a gold engraver. All three of their sons displayed artistic talent early on. Klimt's younger brothers were Georg Klimt. Klimt lived in poverty while attending the Vienna Kunstgewerbeschule, a school of applied arts and crafts, now the University of Applied Arts Vienna, where he studied architectural painting from 1876 until 1883, he revered Vienna's foremost history painter of Hans Makart. Klimt accepted the principles of a conservative training. In 1877 his brother, who, like his father, would become an engraver enrolled in the school; the two brothers and their friend, Franz Matsch, began working together and by 1880 they had received numerous commissions as a team that they called the "Company of Artists". They helped their teacher in painting murals in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.
Klimt began his professional career painting interior murals and ceilings in large public buildings on the Ringstraße, including a successful series of "Allegories and Emblems". In 1888 Klimt received the Golden Order of Merit from Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria for his contributions to murals painted in the Burgtheater in Vienna, he became an honorary member of the University of Munich and the University of Vienna. In 1892 Klimt's father and brother Ernst both died, he had to assume financial responsibility for his father's and brother's families; the tragedies affected his artistic vision and soon he would move towards a new personal style. Characteristic of his style at the end of the 19th century is the inclusion of Nuda Veritas as a symbolic figure in some of his works, including Ancient Greece and Egypt, Pallas Athene and Nuda Veritas. Historians believe that Klimt with the nuda veritas denounced both the policy of the Habsburgs and Austrian society, which ignored all political and social problems of that time.
In the early 1890s Klimt met Austrian fashion designer Emilie Louise Flöge, to be his companion until the end of his life. His painting, The Kiss, is thought to be an image of them as lovers, he designed many costumes that she modeled in his works. During this period Klimt fathered at least fourteen children. Klimt became one of the founding members and president of the Wiener Sezession in 1897 and of the group's periodical, Ver Sacrum, he remained with the Secession until 1908. The goals of the group were to provide exhibitions for unconventional young artists, to bring the works of the best foreign artists to Vienna, to publish its own magazine to showcase the work of members; the group declared no manifesto and did not set out to encourage any particular style—Naturalists and Symbolists all coexisted. The government supported their efforts and gave them a lease on public land to erect an exhibition hall; the group's symbol was Pallas Athena, the Greek goddess of just causes and the arts—of whom Klimt painted his radical version in 1898.
In 1894, Klimt was commissioned to create three paintings to decorate the ceiling of the Great Hall of the University of Vienna. Not completed until the turn of the century, his three paintings, Philosophy and Jurisprudence were criticized for their radical themes and material, were called "pornographic". Klimt had transformed traditional allegory and symbolism into a new language, more overtly sexual and hence more disturbing to some; the public outcry came from all quarters—political and religious. As a result, the paintings were not displayed on the ceiling of the Great Hall; this would be the last public commission accepted by the artist. All three paintings were destroyed when retreating German forces burned Schloss Immendorf in May 1945, his Nuda Veritas defined his bid to further "shake up" the establishment. The starkly naked red-headed woman holds the mirror of truth, while above her is a quotation by Friedrich Schiller in stylized lettering: "If you cannot please everyone with your deeds and your art, please only a few.
To please many is bad."In 1902, Klimt finished the Beethoven Frieze for the Fourteenth Vienna Secessionist exhibition, intended to be a celebration of the composer and featured a monumental polychrome sculpture by Max Klinger. Intended for the exhibition only, the frieze was painted directly on the walls with light m
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Incorporated d/b/a OCLC is an American nonprofit cooperative organization "dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs". It was founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the largest online public access catalog in the world. OCLC is funded by the fees that libraries have to pay for its services. OCLC maintains the Dewey Decimal Classification system. OCLC began in 1967, as the Ohio College Library Center, through a collaboration of university presidents, vice presidents, library directors who wanted to create a cooperative computerized network for libraries in the state of Ohio; the group first met on July 5, 1967 on the campus of the Ohio State University to sign the articles of incorporation for the nonprofit organization, hired Frederick G. Kilgour, a former Yale University medical school librarian, to design the shared cataloging system.
Kilgour wished to merge the latest information storage and retrieval system of the time, the computer, with the oldest, the library. The plan was to merge the catalogs of Ohio libraries electronically through a computer network and database to streamline operations, control costs, increase efficiency in library management, bringing libraries together to cooperatively keep track of the world's information in order to best serve researchers and scholars; the first library to do online cataloging through OCLC was the Alden Library at Ohio University on August 26, 1971. This was the first online cataloging by any library worldwide. Membership in OCLC is based on use of services and contribution of data. Between 1967 and 1977, OCLC membership was limited to institutions in Ohio, but in 1978, a new governance structure was established that allowed institutions from other states to join. In 2002, the governance structure was again modified to accommodate participation from outside the United States.
As OCLC expanded services in the United States outside Ohio, it relied on establishing strategic partnerships with "networks", organizations that provided training and marketing services. By 2008, there were 15 independent United States regional service providers. OCLC networks played a key role in OCLC governance, with networks electing delegates to serve on the OCLC Members Council. During 2008, OCLC commissioned two studies to look at distribution channels. In early 2009, OCLC negotiated new contracts with the former networks and opened a centralized support center. OCLC provides bibliographic and full-text information to anyone. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat—the OCLC Online Union Catalog, the largest online public access catalog in the world. WorldCat has holding records from private libraries worldwide; the Open WorldCat program, launched in late 2003, exposed a subset of WorldCat records to Web users via popular Internet search and bookselling sites.
In October 2005, the OCLC technical staff began a wiki project, WikiD, allowing readers to add commentary and structured-field information associated with any WorldCat record. WikiD was phased out; the Online Computer Library Center acquired the trademark and copyrights associated with the Dewey Decimal Classification System when it bought Forest Press in 1988. A browser for books with their Dewey Decimal Classifications was available until July 2013; until August 2009, when it was sold to Backstage Library Works, OCLC owned a preservation microfilm and digitization operation called the OCLC Preservation Service Center, with its principal office in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The reference management service QuestionPoint provides libraries with tools to communicate with users; this around-the-clock reference service is provided by a cooperative of participating global libraries. Starting in 1971, OCLC produced catalog cards for members alongside its shared online catalog. OCLC commercially sells software, such as CONTENTdm for managing digital collections.
It offers the bibliographic discovery system WorldCat Discovery, which allows for library patrons to use a single search interface to access an institution's catalog, database subscriptions and more. OCLC has been conducting research for the library community for more than 30 years. In accordance with its mission, OCLC makes its research outcomes known through various publications; these publications, including journal articles, reports and presentations, are available through the organization's website. OCLC Publications – Research articles from various journals including Code4Lib Journal, OCLC Research, Reference & User Services Quarterly, College & Research Libraries News, Art Libraries Journal, National Education Association Newsletter; the most recent publications are displayed first, all archived resources, starting in 1970, are available. Membership Reports – A number of significant reports on topics ranging from virtual reference in libraries to perceptions about library funding. Newsletters – Current and archived newsletters for the library and archive community.
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World Heritage Site
A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area, selected by the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organization as having cultural, scientific or other form of significance, is protected by international treaties. The sites are judged important to the collective interests of humanity. To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance, it may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet. The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones; the list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 "states parties" that are elected by their General Assembly.
The programme catalogues and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common culture and heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund; the program began with the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972. Since 193 state parties have ratified the convention, making it one of the most recognized international agreements and the world's most popular cultural program; as of July 2018, a total of 1,092 World Heritage Sites exist across 167 countries. Italy, with 54 sites, has the most of any country, followed by China, France, Germany and Mexico. In 1954, the government of Egypt decided to build the new Aswan High Dam, whose resulting future reservoir would inundate a large stretch of the Nile valley containing cultural treasures of ancient Egypt and ancient Nubia. In 1959, the governments of Egypt and Sudan requested UNESCO to assist their countries to protect and rescue the endangered monuments and sites.
In 1960, the Director-General of UNESCO launched an appeal to the member states for an International Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia. This appeal resulted in the excavation and recording of hundreds of sites, the recovery of thousands of objects, as well as the salvage and relocation to higher ground of a number of important temples, the most famous of which are the temple complexes of Abu Simbel and Philae; the campaign, which ended in 1980, was considered a success. As tokens of its gratitude to countries which contributed to the campaign's success, Egypt donated four temples: the Temple of Dendur was moved to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Temple of Debod was moved to the Parque del Oeste in Madrid, the Temple of Taffeh was moved to the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in the Netherlands, the Temple of Ellesyia to Museo Egizio in Turin; the project cost $80 million, about $40 million of, collected from 50 countries. The project's success led to other safeguarding campaigns: saving Venice and its lagoon in Italy, the ruins of Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan, the Borobodur Temple Compounds in Indonesia.
UNESCO initiated, with the International Council on Monuments and Sites, a draft convention to protect the common cultural heritage of humanity. The United States initiated the idea of cultural conservation with nature conservation; the White House conference in 1965 called for a "World Heritage Trust" to preserve "the world's superb natural and scenic areas and historic sites for the present and the future of the entire world citizenry". The International Union for Conservation of Nature developed similar proposals in 1968, they were presented in 1972 to the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. Under the World Heritage Committee, signatory countries are required to produce and submit periodic data reporting providing the World Heritage Committee with an overview of each participating nation's implementation of the World Heritage Convention and a "snapshot" of current conditions at World Heritage properties. A single text was agreed on by all parties, the "Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage" was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972.
The Convention came into force on 17 December 1975. As of May 2017, it has been ratified by 193 states parties, including 189 UN member states plus the Cook Islands, the Holy See and the State of Palestine. Only four UN member states have not ratified the Convention: Liechtenstein, Nauru and Tuvalu. A country must first list its significant natural sites. A country may not nominate sites. Next, it can place sites selected from that list into a Nomination File; the Nomination File is evaluated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites and the World Conservation Union. These bodies make their recommendations to the World Heritage Committee; the Committee meets once per year to determine whether or not to inscribe each nominated property on the World Heritage List and sometimes defers or refers the decision to request more information from the country which nominated the site. There are ten selection criteria – a site must meet at least one of them to be included on the list
Franz Metzner was an influential German sculptor his sculptural figures integrated into the architecture of Central European public buildings in the Art Nouveau / Jugendstil / Vienna Secession period. His style is difficult to classify. Metzer learned the craft of stone-cutting in Breslau with Christian Behrens and did apprenticeships in Saxony through 1894, he founded his own studio in Berlin in 1896 and worked predominantly for the royal porcelain factory until 1903, became a professor at the Vienna college of arts and sciences. Metzner achieved notoriety by winning a Gold Medal at the Paris Exposition Universelle. Among his important works are the sculptures for Josef Hoffmann's 1904–1911 landmark Art Deco Palais Stoclet in Brussels, including the eccentric four green male nudes at the summit of the building; the Palais Stoclet is an example of "Gesamtkunstwerk", the integration of art and architecture, one of the goals of Jugendstil. In 1910 Metzner met the vacationing Frank Lloyd Wright and, according to the scholarship of Anthony Alofsin, Metzer affected Wright's "conventionalization" of the human figure and its incorporation into buildings like the Larkin Building and Midway Gardens.
Around the same time, Metzner's designs influenced Czech artists working in Prague, Stanislav Sucharda among them. A famous work is the 1913 Völkerschlachtdenkmal, designed by the architect Bruno Schmitz in Leipzig. Metzner executed the powerful and strangely scaled interior figural-architectural sculpture in the "Hecker Tomb" with his teacher Behrens; the Monument was inaugurated in 1913 by Kaiser Wilhelm II and is associated with political strains of German nationalism in the period between the World Wars. Much of Metzner's work in Germany was lost in World War II. Atlas figures, Zacherl House, Austria, 1905, Jože Plečnik, architect Tomb for the paper manufacturer Max Krause in the Jerusalem Cemetery in Berlin, 1907, Bruno Schmitz architect Franz Stelzhammer Monument, Germany, 1908 sculpture for the Ufa-Pavillon am Nollendorfplatz in Berlin, 1913, for architect Oskar Kaufmann Der Rüdigerbrunnen in the Bavarian city of Kaufbeuren Einholz, Sibylle. "Metzner, Franz." In Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online.
Metzner, Franz. In: Ulrich Thieme, Felix Becker et al.: Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Vol. 24, E. A. Seemann, Leipzig 1930, p. 448f. Media related to Franz Metzner at Wikimedia Commons Entry for Franz Metzner on the Union List of Artist Names Literature by and about Franz Metzner in the German National Library catalogue
Fernand Edmond Jean Marie Khnopff was a symbolist Belgian painter. Fernand Khnopff was born to a wealthy family, part of the high bourgeoisie for generations. Khnopff's ancestors had lived in the Vossenhoek area of Grembergen Flanders since the early 17th century but were of Austrian and Portuguese descent. Most male members of his family had been lawyers or judges, young Fernand was destined for a juridical career. In his early childhood, he lived in Bruges where his father was appointed Substitut Du Procureur Du Roi, his childhood memories of the medieval city of Bruges would play a significant role in his work. In 1864, the family moved to Brussels. In his childhood Khnopff spent part of his summer holidays in the hamlet of Tillet not so far from Bastogne in the Luxemburg province where his maternal grandparents owned an estate, he painted several views of this village. To please his parents, he went to law school at the Free University of Brussels when he was 18 years old. During this period, he developed a passion for literature, discovering the works of Baudelaire, Leconte de Lisle and other French authors.
With his younger brother Georges Khnopff – a passionate amateur of contemporary music and poetry – he started to frequent Jeune Belgique, a group of young writers including Max Waller, Georges Rodenbach, Iwan Gilkin and Emile Verhaeren. Khnopff left University due to a lack of interest in his law studies and began to frequent the studio of Xavier Mellery, who made him familiar with the art of painting. On 25 October 1876, he enrolled for the Cours De Dessin Après Nature at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts. At the Académie, his most famous fellow student was James Ensor, whom he disliked from the start. Between 1877 and 1880, Khnopff made several trips to Paris where he discovered the work of Delacroix, Ingres and Stevens. At the Paris World Fair of 1878 he became acquainted with the oeuvre of Burne-Jones. During his last year at the Académie in 1878–1879 he neglected his classes in Brussels and lived for a while in Passy, where he visited the Cours Libres of Jules Joseph Lefebvre at the Académie Julian.
In 1881, he presented his works to the public for the first time at the "Salon de l'Essor" in Brussels. The critics' appraisal of his work is harsh, with the exception of Emile Verhaeren who writes a commending review. Verhaeren would write the first monography of the painter. In 1883, he was one of the founding members of the group Le Groupe des XX. Khnopff exhibited at the annual "Salon" organised by Les XX. In 1885, he met the French novelist Joséphin Péladan the future grandmaster of the Rosicrucian "Ordre de la Rose + Croix". Péladan asked Khnopff to design the cover for his new book "Le Vice suprême". Khnopff accepted this commission but destroyed the work because the famous soprano Rose Caron was offended by the imaginary portrait of Leonora d'Este that Khnopff had designed to adorn the cover and in which Caron believed to recognise her own face; the vehement reaction of "La Caron" on this occasion made a scandal in the Belgian and Parisian press and would help to establish Khnopff's name as an artist.
Khnopff continued to design illustrations for the works of Péladan, most notably for "Femmes honnêtes" and "Le Panthée". On several occasions Khnopff was invited as guest of honour on the exhibitions of the Parisian "Salon de la Rose + Croix" organised by Péladan. In 1889, Khnopff laid his first contacts with England, where he would stay and exhibit in the future. British artists such as Hunt, Rossetti and Burne-Jones would become friends. From 1895 Khnopff worked as a correspondent for the British art journal The Studio; until the outbreak of World War I in 1914 Khnopff would be responsible for the rubric "Studio-Talks-Brussels" in which he reported about the artistic evolutions in Belgium and continental Europe. In March 1898 Khnopff presented a selection of 21 works on the first exhibition of the Vienna Secession. In Vienna his work was received with massive admiration; the works he presented at the Secession would form a major influence on the oeuvre of Gustav Klimt. From 1900 onwards, Khnopff was engaged in the design of his new studio in Brussels.
The house was inspired by the Vienna Secession and more in particular by the architecture of Joseph Maria Olbrich. To the sober architecture and decoration Khnopff added a symbolic and decorative concept that turned his home into a "Temple of the self"; the house functioned as a shrine. His motto "On a que soi" was inscribed above the entrance door, in and his studio he painted in the middle of golden circle inscribed on the white mosaic floor; this theatrical setting was undoubtedly a reflection of Khnopffs passion for theatre and opera. Khnopff's first designs for the theatre date from 1903 when he sketched the sets for a production of Georges Rodenbach's play "Le Mirage" at the Deutsches Theater Berlin; this production was directed by the famous Max Reinhardt, the sets evoking the gloomy streets of the mysterious city of Bruges where Khnopff had spent his early childhood, were much appreciated by the Berlin public and critics. After Khnopff had been engaged to design the costumes and the sets for the World premiere of Ernest Chausson's opera Le Roi Arthus at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels in 1903, he collaborated on more than a dozen opera productions given at "La Monnaie" in t