James Ensor

Belgian (1860 - 1949)
James Ensor L'Entree du Christ a Bruxelles [The Entry of Christ into Brussels] 1896 © DACS 2018.

Biography

Born 1860
Died 1949
Nationality Belgian
Birth place Oostende
Death place Oostende

Belgian artist James Ensor lived most of his life in Ostend, where he was born in 1860. From 1877 to 1880 he studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Initially a portrait painter, Ensor soon established an avant-garde group of artists called ‘Les XX’ (the Twenty). They rejected the conservatism of the official art establishments of the time and sought to promote new artistic ideas throughout Europe. Much of Ensor’s work was controversial; he frequently used Christian motifs to express his contempt for what he saw as an increasingly inhumane world of political and social injustice. Ensor achieved greater recognition in the latter years of his life, and had a significant influence on twentieth century expressionist and surrealist artist.

Glossary terms

  • A form of printmaking in which a metal plate is covered with a substance called a 'ground', usually wax, into which an image is drawn with a needle. Acid is applied, eroding the areas of the plate exposed but not the areas covered by wax. The action of the acid creates lines in the metal plate that hold the ink from which a print is made when the plate is pressed against paper under pressure.