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James Ensor

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James Ensor
Portrait of James Ensor by Henry De Groux, 1907
Born (1860-04-13)13 April 1860
Ostend, Belgium
Died 19 November 1949(1949-11-19) (aged 89)
Ostend, Belgium
Nationality Belgian
Field Painting
Training Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts, Brussels (Belgium)
Movement expressionism, surrealism
Influenced by Hieronymus Bosch

James Sidney Edouard, Baron Ensor (13 April 1860 – 19 November 1949) was a Flemish-Belgian painter and printmaker, an important influence on expressionism and surrealism who lived in Ostend for almost his entire life. He was associated with the artistic group Les XX.

From 1877 to 1880, he attended the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. His only travels were three brief trips to Paris, London, and Holland.[1]

In 1895 his painting The Lamp Boy (1880) was acquired by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels. He had his first solo exhibition in Brussels.[2] By 1920 he was the subject of major exhibitions. In 1929 he was named a Baron by King Albert. He was the subject of the Belgian composer Flor Alpaerts's "James Ensor Suite". In 1933 he was awarded the band of the Légion d'honneur.

Against the advice of friends, he remained in Ostend during World War II despite the risk of bombardment. In his old age he was an honored figure among Belgians. His daily walk made him a familiar sight in Ostend. He died there after a short illness, on 19 November 1949.


  1. Farmer 1976, p. 11
  2. Becks-Malorny 2000, p. 95

Other websites

Media related to James Ensor at Wikimedia Commons