James Ensor – Belgian [ 1860-1949]
James Ensor (1860–1949) was a major figure in the Belgian avant-garde of the late nineteenth century and an important precursor to the development of Expressionism in the early twentieth.
Of the four works by James Ensor, at display in the exhibition, of particular interest is the etching, “Death Chasing the Flock of Humans” [1896/ etching drypoint on Simili Japon paper]. This is a modern vision of the end of the world. Ensor witnessed violent political protests in Brussels in the mid 1880s, and combined that experience with an interest in religious themes. The end of the world seems to approach as masses of people panic and run, and the sky fills with frightening visions. There is no figure of God directing events, no hope of heaven.