James Ensor is known worldwide. Museums, collectors and enthusiasts from all over the world are fascinated by his groundbreaking art. Long before the term became a fashionable cliché, Ensor was certainly a game changer. But all too often, the artworks themselves are overshadowed by the popular myth: that of a strange, misanthropic eccentric who sat behind his piano in his Ostend shell shop. The innovative nature of Ensor’s paintings, etchings and drawings is the direct result of his desire to explore, in an almost systematic way, the most diverse techniques, genres and modes of representation. In a letter to the art critic Pol De Mont, written as early as 1894, he said: “j’ai étudié attentivement les manières les plus opposées” (I have attentively studied the most diverse artistic styles). And he defended his pursuit of artistic diversity, and the search for various stylistic, iconographic or technical alternatives, until advanced old age. Only in this way could an artist succeed in transporting his audience, and that was the ultimate goal for Ensor. He was captivated by the elation that he felt whenever he took his Brussels friends to the promenade and showed them the miraculous beauty of the sea. This was the bliss of which he dreamed when, inspired by the pearly interior of a shell, he painted his religious tableaux, landscapes or still lifes.
James Ensor - Dreams of mother-of-pearl (Mu.Zee)


Romestraat 11
8400 Oostende


From Tuesday, May 15, 2018
To Sunday, June 16, 2019


+32 (0)59 50 81 18

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