James Ensor
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
James Ensor

Diables rossant Anges et Archanges

Details
James Ensor
Diables rossant Anges et Archanges
etching extensively hand coloured with watercolour, 1888, on simili-Japan paper, signed, dated and titled Lutte des démons in pencil, countersigned in pencil verso, with wide margins, generally in very good condition
Plate 263 x 307 mm., Sheet 352 x 476 mm.
Provenance
Mira Jacob Wolfovska (1912-2004), Paris, without her blindstamp; then by descent.
Literature
Delteil 23; Croquez 24; Tavernier, Elesh 23
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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Lot Essay

Ensor fantastical vision draws upon a rich visual vocabulary in Northern European art of angels and devils. Breughel’s The Fall of the Rebel Angels, 1562 (Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels) has been cited as one source; as has Hieronymus Bosch’s Hell, 1480-1505 (Museo del Prado, Madrid). The trials of Saint Anthony as depicted in the famous engraving by Martin Schongauer, circa 1469-73, may also have been an inspiration for Ensor’s vivid phantasmagoria of surreal creatures and grotesque demons. Diana Lasco noted the explicit sexual violence depicted in Diables rossant Anges et Archanges, which is largely directed against its female protagonists. Misogyny was very much part of the decadent milieu of the late 19th century, finding its culmination in the dark fantasies of artist’s such Félicien Rops, whom Ensor greatly admired. As Lasko points out, on a formal level Ensor’s print of 1888 was remarkably progessive: 'The use of space and form affirms the two dimensional surface and patterns it with movement, paving the way for the 20th century abstractions of artists like Kandinsky and Klee.’ (D. Lasko, James Ensor-The Creative Years, Princeton University Press, New Jersey, p. 131).

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