James, belg. Maler, Zeichner und Radierer, Ostende 13.4.1860, +ebd. 19.11.1949. Hauptmeister der modernen belg. Malerei, begann unter dem Einfluß der Impressionisten, entwickelte dann seinen eigentümlichen realist.-symbolist. Stil (siehe Symbolismus) und schuf Karnevalsszenen, maskierte Menschen, Gespenster, Monstren usw. In gewisser Weise setzt er die Tradition der Bruegel und Bosch fort, gefördert wurde er von F. Rops. Sein bekanntestes Werk ist der 2,6 x 4,3 m große 'Einzug Christi in Brüssel im Jahre 1888' (Antwerpen, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten). Ferner: 'Skelette kämpfen um einen Gehängten' (1891, ebd.). 'Seltsame Masken' (1892, Brüssel, Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts). 'Gefährliche Köche' (1896, Gent, Sammlung R. Leten).
(1860-1949) Belgian painter and printmaker. In a bold style employing vivid colors, he created a surreal and macabre world inhabited by masked figures and skeletons. Such works as his famous Entry of Christ into Brussels 1888 (Musée Royale des Beaux-Arts, Brussels) anticipated Expressionism.
Ensor was the son of an English father and a Flemish mother, and a British subject until 1930, when he became a Belgian. He studied at the academy in Brussels, and first painted dark landscapes and seascapes, but in the 1880s quickly developed a richness of color and a macabre quality of imagination in which he has been compared with his Flemish forerunners Brueghel and Bosch. He worked quietly at Ostend in a studio over a shop that sold seaside gift oddities, “happily confined”, in his own words, to “the solitary realm where the mask rules”. 1880–1900 his creative range of subject and style was fully established, appearing in tormented and tragic religious themes and in his grotesque world of masks and animated skeletons. Early works such as his Christ’s Entry into Brussels were treated with contempt, but 1908 Emile Verhaeren first recognized his gifts, and the exhibition at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels 1929 may be said to have made the (by then aged) painter’s reputation. In addition to paintings he produced a large number of drawings and etchings. The most eminent of modern Belgian painters, he is adequately represented in the national collections at Antwerp and Brussels.