The monumental painting includes fifty-one sheets of paper, mounted side by side on canvas. Important Art by James Ensor Portrait of the Painter in a Flowered Hat (1883) Portrait of the Painter in a Flowered Hat represents Ensor in a three-quarter view, openly confronting the viewer's gaze. All Rights Reserved |. James Sidney Edouard, Baron Ensor (13 April 1860 – 19 November 1949) was a Belgian painter and printmaker, an important influence on expressionism and surrealism who lived in Ostend for almost his entire life. Ensor flattens out the figures across the surface of the composition, denying the perspective he's built in order to make the image more pressing and intense. Representing Saint Anthony's battle with the devil may have been Ensor's response to the temptations and ethical concerns of modern society. He was associated with the artistic group Les XX. James Ensor is a famous Belgian artist who worked at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. There is even a sense that the crowd is slightly tipped forward, ready to rush out at the viewer and engulf her at any moment. Although traditional in subject, the presentation is anything but. Oil on canvas - Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York. View James Ensor’s 4,054 artworks on artnet. By this time the town of Ostend had become a seaside resort, known for its casino, boardwalk, beach, and restorative baths. In this particular work Ensor represents himself as a pickled herring being torn apart by their hateful criticism. Ensor was struggling with the recent death of his father at the time the work was created and his inclusion of the motif may indicate his attempt to deal with his own mortality. Figures in the crowd are depicted from multiple angles, their shapes and forms deconstructed, and their volume is suggested through the juxtaposition of unmodulated dabs of pure, unsaturated color. It is assumed that the individual drawings, varied in nature but all with acidic color bound by line in a volume-defying style, were part of a book of drawings inspired by Flaubert's narrative. Ensor's painting represents Anthony the Great of Egypt (c. 251-356) resisting the temptations of the devil. This work represents Edgar Allan Poe's short story, The Vengeance of Hop Frog (1845) wherein the title character, a court-jester, is the victim of social and class injustice inflicted by the king and clergy. Although both depicted figures have an intense expression, suggesting something of their state of mind, Ensor alleviates the unhappy set of his own mouth with the gaiety of the hat. Oil on canvas - The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California. Although the instigation for including this prop may have come with his awareness of them in his family's shop, he was most probably attracted to their ability to both hide the specific identity of the figure depicted and simultaneously add a note of intrigue and mystery. In total, Ensor represents this summer playground for the middle-class in a satirical manner. [Internet]. Leopold II of Belgium had remade Brussels into a modern city with royal monuments, streamlined facades and broad new boulevards along the model of Haussmann in Paris, but by the late 1880s the country's state of affairs was similar to that of the infamous Paris Commune. By representing Saint Anthony surrounded by surreal figures, including, a multi-breasted goddess, a sphinx, nude women, bourgeois men, and musical instruments the artist makes a bold statement regarding the depravity of modern society. Colored pencils and scraping, with graphite, charcoal, pastel and water color, selectively fixed, with cut and paste elements on fifty-one sheets of paper, mounted on canvas - The Art Institute of Chicago. And although the facial hair seems close to that of Rubens', he works blue flame-like whiskers into his mustache in a very untraditional manner. In his early years, Ensor was a founder and leader of Les Vingt (The Twenty), a group whose goal was to promote new artistic developments in Europe, though they later rejected his work as it became more radical and extreme in subject and method. The monumental painting includes fifty-one sheets of paper, mounted side by side on canvas. A major figure of the Belgian avant-garde in the late 19th century and a forerunner of 20th-century Expressionism, James Ensor produced paintings that explored religious subject matter, political satire, and carnivalesque imagery (his family owned an antiques and souvenir emporium that sold grotesque carnival masks). Oil on canvas - Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, Netherlands. Stylistically, his paintings are characterized by harsh colors and thick layers of oil paint, sometimes applied with palette knives or spatulas. His most famous work, Christ’s Entry into Brussels (1889), incorporated his trademark style and depictions of fairground masks to satirize contemporary religion and politics in Belgium. This painting, no question Ensor's most famous, represents a carnival mob engulfing Christ sitting on a donkey. As Ensor described: "My colors are purified, they are integral and personal." The appearance of masks within early modern art increased around the turn of the century, as their ability as expressive tools was understood. The word herring in French, hareng-saur-close, if said with the proper pronunciation, apparently sounded like "art Ensor" or "Ensor's art." While the feathery brushstrokes and palette of the sky somewhat recall Impressionism, the fantastic, grotesque subject in a no-man's land actually anticipates much later takes on reality, such as found in Surrealism. While overall the scene depicted seems to be a happy one, a sunny day where tourists are enjoying themselves, it also depicts them missing clothing, and a few of which are shown upside down with their heads between their legs- in the midst of vulgar acts. Nevertheless, this is countered by a more modern approach to building volume. In this case the masked figures are even scarier than the figure of Death at the center. Ensor's work offers a very clear critique of the contemporary social milieu in which he lived, anticipating movements like Dadaism.

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