James Ensor

Belgian painter (1860–1949)

James Sidney Edouard, Baron Ensor (13 April 1860 – 19 November 1949) was a Flemish-Belgian painter and printmaker. He was an important influence on expressionism and surrealism. He lived in Ostend for most of his life. He was associated with the artistic group Les XX.

James Ensor
Self-portrait with flower hat, 1907
James Sidney Ensor

(1860-04-13)13 April 1860
Died19 November 1949(1949-11-19) (aged 89)
Ostend, Belgium
EducationAcadémie Royale des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (Belgium)
Known forPainting
Movementexpressionism, surrealism
The Intrigue

From 1877 to 1880, he attended the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. His only travels were three brief trips to Paris, London, and Holland.[1]

In 1895 his painting The Lamp Boy (1880) was acquired by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels. He had his first solo exhibition in Brussels.[2] By 1920 he was the subject of major exhibitions. In 1929 he was named a Baron by King Albert. He was the subject of the Belgian composer Flor Alpaerts's "James Ensor Suite".[3] In 1933 he was awarded the band of the Légion d'honneur.

Against the advice of friends, he remained in Ostend during World War II despite the risk of bombardment. In his old age he was an honored figure among Belgians. His daily walk made him a familiar sight in Ostend.[4] He died there after a short illness, on 19 November 1949.[5]

His early works show domestic scenes with little color. Later he started to use brighter colors. His subjects became very imaginative. He painted carnivals, masks, puppets and skeletons.[6]


  1. Farmer, John David (1976). Ensor. New York: George Braziller, p. 11
  2. Becks-Malorny, Ulrike (2000). James Ensor. Cologne: Taschen, p. 95
  3. "Intrigue: James Ensor by Luc Tuymans | Exhibition | Royal Academy of Arts". www.royalacademy.org.uk.
  4. says, Against Our Will: Sexual Trauma In American Art Since 1970-Riot Material (2 November 2017). "The Redemption Of Art Through Disfigurement And Slaughter". Riot Material. Retrieved 3 October 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  5. "Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: Pierre Alechinsky, The Tomb of Ensor"". emuseum.mfah.org.
  6. van Gindertael, Roger (1975). Ensor. Boston: New York Graphic Society Ltd.,p. 114

Other websites


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