About James Sidney Edouard, Baron Ensor
James Sidney Edouard, Baron Ensor (13 April 1860 – 19 November 1949) was a Flemish-Belgian painter and printmaker, an important influence on expressionism and surrealism who lived in Ostend for almost his entire life. He was associated with the artistic group Les XX.
Except for three years studying history and religious painting at the Brussels academy, James Ensor, a Belgian painter, printmaker, and draftsman, lived in Ostend, Belgium, all his life. He began his artistic career as a portrait painter but soon became involved with the avant-garde group Les XX (the Twenty), whose goal was to promote new artistic developments throughout Europe. Although Ensor was considered the group's leader and founder, he had sharp differences of opinion with other group members. Art critics treated the group harshly, and Les XX disbanded after a decade.
In the mid-1880s, Ensor suffered from an ulcer and from a personal crisis: his family forbade him to marry the woman he loved. He returned to painting religious subjects and plunged to the depths of despair when he decided to sell the contents of his studio in the 1890s. After the turn of the century, Ensor finally won acclaim and respectability. He was knighted and given the title of Baron. The 1908 publication of a book about his life and works confirmed his standing and reputation. In later years, he wrote music, designed sets for ballets, and continued to paint until his death at eighty-nine.
Christ's Entry Into Brussels in 1889 (also known as Entry of Christ into Brussels) is considered as Ensor's most famous work and was a precursor to Expressionism. History
The painting was rejected by Les XX, and not exhibited until 1929. It was shown at his studio in his lifetime.
It was exhibited at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp from 1947 to 1983, Kunsthaus Zürich from 1983 to 1987. It showed at a retrospective in 1976 at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Guggenheim Museum.
The painting is on permanent exhibition at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.
His works are in many public collections, notably the Modern Art Museum of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, and the Museum voor Schone Kunsten in Ostend. Major works by Ensor are also in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, and the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne. A collection of his letters is held in the Contemporary Art Archives of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels.