Friday, May 22, 2020

A Pioneer of Expressionism, James Ensor - 1099 Words

The colourful grotesque scenes painted by James Ensor have caused many to place him as a pioneer of expressionism. He is most recognized as the painter of masks and skeletons. However, to place him under one category would be to ignore a large portion of his career, in which he tackled a plethora of techniques, mediums, and subjects. The diversity of Ensors art sets him apart from many other artists, and his experimentation was ceaseless. Ensor was innovative and original, excelling at a great number of things. Until his death in 1949, Ensor constantly proved his ever-expanding artistic ability, expressing himself through his work in any way that he pleased, and refusing to surrender to the standards of others. James Sidney Ensor was born in 1860 to an educated Englishman and a bourgeious Belgium woman in the seaside resort town of Ostend, Belgium. During the summer the streets would be crawling with tourists, eager to take in the sea and partake in a wild Flemish festival. Ensors fa ther, James Frederic Ensor, left for the United States shortly after his sons birth to find work as a civil engineer, but returned to Ostend after the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. The family of his wife, Maria Catherina Haegheman, owned a small eclectic souvenir shop, in which Ensor found great inspiration. In my parents shop I had seen the wavy lines, the serpentine forms of beautiful seashells, the irridescent lights of mother-of-pearl, the rich tones of delicate chinoiserie (1).

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