James Ensor (1860-1949)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT BELGIAN COLLECTION
James Ensor (1860-1949)


James Ensor (1860-1949)
signed 'Ensor' (lower right)
oil on canvas
51 x 61.5 cm.
Painted in 1933
Augusta Boogaerts, Brussels.
Sam Salz, Paris/New York.
C.S. Collinson.
Anonymous sale, Galerie George Giroux, Brussels, 13 May 1950, lot 93.
Galerie Patrick Derom, Brussels.
Galerie Seghers, Ostend.
Anonymous sale, De Vuyst Lokeren, 6 March 1999, lot 437.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
F. Fels, James Ensor, Geneva 1947, pl. 63 (illustrated).
X. Tricot, James Ensor Catalogue Raisonné of the Paintings 1902 - 1941, Volume II, Antwerp 1992, no. 609 (illustrated p. 566). X. Tricot, James Ensor, Life and Work: The Complete Paintings, Brussels 2009, no. 626 (illustrated p. 380).
Paris, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1939.
Brussels, Galerie Georges Giroux, Exposition Hommage à James Ensor, 12 October - 4 November 1945, no. 134 (where dated '1931').
London, National Gallery Trafalgar Square, The works of James Ensor, 1946 - 1947, no. 50.
Charleroi, Cercle Artistique et Littéraire, XXIIIme Salon, 19 March - 4 April 1949, no. 47.
Frankfurt, Schirn Kunsthalle, James Ensor, 17 December 2005 - 19 March 2006, p. 138.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lisa Snijders
Lisa Snijders

Lot Essay

In the introvert world of James Ensor, the still life takes up an important place in his career. The genre responds well to the closed nature of the artist who created his compositions from the intimacy of the bourgeois interior crowded with objects. In his early career the main focus in his still lifes was to use everyday motifs such as vegetables, flowers, meat and fish combined with the shells and other peculiar objects from his mother's souvenir shop. Already as a young boy he developed a passion for these objects. He wrote: "My mother, daughter of Ostend sea-shell traders, continued her parents' trade and I spent my childhood in the paternal shop, surrounded by the curiosities from the sea and the splendours of mother-of-pearl with a thousand iridescent gleams and bizarre skeletons, monsters and marine plants. The proximity of these wonders, the colours, this light-filled, gleaming opulence, undoubtedly helped turn me in to a painter in love with colour and sensitive to the dazzling play of light.' (see: X. Tricot,James Ensor, life and work, the complete paintings, Brussels 2009, p. 13).

The present lot was painted in 1933. The composition is formed by an arrangement of seashells coming from his cabinet of curiosities he held at his studio on the Rue de Flandres in Ostend. They are presented as little gems arisen from the sea. Sharply observed and conscientious in its detail, this still life shows Ensor's love for colour and light. The shells are executed in pink and orange tones, bathed in a transparent light taking on the atmosphere of a beach scene. The misty white, almost bluish light is reminiscent of the skies of the coastline of Ostend where Ensor lived throughout his life. It is primarily this feature generating the painting's sense of a landscape.

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