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James Ensor (1860-1949)
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James Ensor (1860-1949)

Crustacés (Nature morte à l'oeuf, au homard et au crabe)

Details
James Ensor (1860-1949)
Crustacés (Nature morte à l'oeuf, au homard et au crabe)
signed 'Ensor' (lower right)
oil on panel
12 5/8 x 15¾ in. (32 x 40 cm.)
Painted in 1891-1894
Provenance
A gift from the artist to the grandfather of the present owner.
Literature
E. Verhaeren, James Ensor, Brussels, 1908, p. 118 (illustrated and titled Crustacés 1894).
G. Le Roy, James Ensor, Brussels and Paris, 1922, p. 185 (illustrated titled Crustacés, 1894).
X. Tricot, James Ensor, Catalogue raisonné of the paintings, vol. I, 1875-1902, Antwerp, 1992, no. 329 (illustrated p. 317).
Exhibited
Brussels, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, James Ensor, September 1999 - February 2000, no. 108 (illustrated in colour p. 171).
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

Like Ensor's paintings of masks, carnivals and skeletons, his mature still-life paintings of the 1890s also magically convey a sense of an otherworldy reality. Translating the objects of daily life into a strange narrative landscape of familiar but somehow also peculiar form, Ensor's still-lifes seem to depict life as an absurd compendium of objects. Nature morte à l'oeuf au homard et au crabe (Still-life with egg, lobster and crab) is one of the most successful and evocative of these exquisite works. Sharply observed and meticulous in its detail, it is bathed in a bright translucent light, strongly coloured and depicted with such depth of perspective that it begins to take on the atmosphere of a beach scene.

The misty white light that douses the work is reminiscent of the skies of the Belgian coastline where Ensor lived and it is primarily this feature that generates the painting's strong sense of landscape and transcendence.
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