'Me and My Circle': James Ensor in the Twentieth Century
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At the time of his death in 1949, Belgian artist James Ensor (b. 1860) had already garnered decades of acclaim for his bold, expressionistic use of color and outlandish scenes that frequently featured his favored motifs of masks and skeletons. Such images, produced largely in the 1880s and 1890s, are to this day considered Ensor's most 'creative.' Although he generated a remarkably large and diverse body of work between the turn of the century and the end of his life, these later images are left largely unconsidered in scholarship on the artist. Here, by approaching Ensor's twentieth-century body of work as an inextricable piece of the artist's entire oeuvre, and by juxtaposing the 'early' and 'late' Ensors, I will examine how the altered artistic path Ensor took in the twentieth century is symptomatic of larger changes occurring in his life.