Born Apr. 13, 1860, in Oostende (Ostend); died there Nov. 19, 1949. Belgian painter and graphic artist.
Ensor entered the Brussels Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1877. In 1881 he moved to Oostende. He was influenced by 17th-century Flemish painting, by the artists G. Courbet and C. de Groux, and by the impressionists. From such early realistic works as Woman Eating Oysters (1882, Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp), Ensor turned to the fantastic in garishly colored compositions with masks and skeletons. In these works he combined satire of the vulgarity of the bourgeois world with sardonic parody of mankind; an example is Entry of Christ Into Brussels (1888, Ensor Museum, Oostende). Ensor’s graphic art was characterized especially by multifigure etchings full of dramatic tension, as in Cathedral (1886).
REFERENCESHaesaerts, P. James Ensor. [Paris, 1957.]
Legrand, Fr.-Cl. Ensor, cet inconnu. [Brussels, 1971.]
Taevernier, A. James Ensor: Catalogue illustré de ses gravures. Ledeberg, 1973.