James Ensor

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The Museum of Modern Art, 2009 - Art - 208 pages
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James Ensor's painting of 1887, "The Temptation of St. Anthony," now in The Museum of Modern Art's collection, established the artist as one of the boldest painters of all his contemporaries. 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, yet his work is underappreciated in the United States, and far too little seen. This striking volume, published on the occasion of Ensor's major 2009 exhibition in New York, gives the artist the attention he so greatly deserves. It presents approximately 90 works, organized thematically, examining Ensor's Modernity, his innovative and allegorical approach to light, his prominent use of satire, his deep interest in carnival and performance and, finally, his own self-fashioning and use of masking, travesty and role-playing. Works in the full range of his media--painting, printing and drawing--are presented in an overlapping network of themes and images to produce a complete picture of this daring body of art. The most comprehensive volume on the artist available in English, this remarkable, scholarly volume reveals Ensor as a socially engaged and self-critical artist involved with the issues of his times and contemporary debates on the very nature of Modernism.

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