Interested in the Belgian painter James Ensor? Get an overview of the life and times of this Belgian artist.
The country of Belgium has served as a breeding ground for many world renowned artists. James Sidney Edourd Baron Ensor is the name of one of the most talented painters and printmakers to have originated from the country of Belgium.
James Ensor was a prominent figure in the promotion and advancing of expressionism. He also had a profound influence on surrealism during his life which was spent in Ostend. He was also a part of the group of artists known as the Les XXX.
Life and times of James Ensor
The painter was born to a couple of an Englishman and a Flemish woman. He grew up as a poor student and dropped out of school at the age of 15 to pursue his passion for arts. He began his art education under two local painters. He then joined the Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels where he studied from 1877 to 1880. The renowned artist Fernand Khnopff studied alongside James Ensor during this tenure,
The artist made his first public exhibition in 1881. He would continue to work from his studio which was established in his parent’s attic until 1917. The only brief trips he made outside of Belgium were to London, Holland and Paris.
James Ensor had quite some trouble getting his work accepted by the masses. This was mainly because of the controversial themes that the artist would be using for his paintings. One of his most controversial works was the Entry of Christ into Brussels painted in 1889.
Despite the controversy that surrounded his work James Ensor was fortunate enough to have his work exhibited more than often. His 1880 painting titled the Lamp Boy was hoisted up in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels. The artist also earned his first solo exhibition in these years in Brussels. By the early 1900’s James Ensor had established quite a reputation for himself and was featured in many art exhibitions along side other great artists.
It was in 1920 that James Ensor earned the title of Baron at the hands of King Albert. Success continued to come to this Belgian artist in the following years as he won the award of the band Legion d’honneur in 1933.
With the passage of time however he cut down on the production of new paintings and directed his skills to another art from. Despite the fact that the artist had no real formal training in music he started taking to music as a medium of artistic expression. During his career as a musician James Ensor won the appreciation of the masses who acknowledged the artist’s great improvisational techniques.
The brave artists stayed in Ostend even during the time of World War 2 when the region was heavily bombarded by the enemy forces. He was a well known figure in the town where he would often roam the streets. The artist’s soul finally departed in the year 1949 in Ostend.