Reference Entry

Ensor, James Sidney

in Benezit Dictionary of Artists

ISBN: 9780199773787
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199899913 | DOI:
Ensor, James Sidney

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Belgian, 19th–20th century, male.

Born 13 April 1860, in Ostend, to a Flemish mother (Maria Catharina Haegheman) and a British father; died 19 November 1949, in Ostend.

Painter, watercolourist, pastellist, engraver. Figure compositions, figures, portraits, landscapes, still-lifes.

Groupe des Vingt (XX).

James Sidney Ensor’s parents kept a somewhat unusual souvenir shop, Souvenirs d’Ostende, where seashell boxes, vases from the Far East, model ships in bottles, masks and carnival accessories were sold. He started to draw and paint at a young age, and his parents did not oppose his vocation. From 1873 to 1875 he was a pupil at Notre-Dame secondary school in Ostend and studied with two local painters, Dubar and Michel van Cuyck. In 1877, at 17, he left his hometown – for what was to be the only significant absence in his life – to study for three years at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, where he was a fellow student of Ferdinand Khnopff, whom he was to criticise in the future. He followed the guidance of the director Jan Portaels, but drew above all on the styles of Hals, Rembrandt, Goya, Turner, Daumier and Manet. He established a few important relationships in Brussels, notably with Ernest Rousseau, a physics professor and rector at the University of Brussels and his wife Mariette, as well as their son Pierre and their niece Blanche. It was the Rousseau family who introduced him to the intellectual milieu of Brussels....

Reference Entry.  5978 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Painting ; Prints and Printmaking ; 20th-Century Art ; 19th-Century Art

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