Ensor often used the skeleton motif as a means of exploring his own mortality. Mon Portrait en 1960 is a witty take on this sombre theme. One hundred years old and long dead, his skeleton reposes on a pile of cushions, accompanied by a hairy spider and three snails (the snails also appear in Ensor’s representation of sloth in the Seven Deadly Sins; see lot 74). Sprouting strands of dishevelled hair, his eyeless skull ruefully grins at us, embarrassed by the indecorous, disintegrating state in which he finds himself. By contrast, Mon Portrait Squellettisé (see lot 2) is a grizzlier take on the theme. The dapper, suited figure of the young artist leans with one arm on a ledge, the other hand nonchalantly placed in his jacket pocket. His flowing hair frames a skull, a macabre effect heightened by the contrast between his very physical body and the fleshless profile.