Ostend will dedicate 2024 to artist James Ensor with new exhibitions

Ostend will dedicate 2024 to painter James Ensor by celebrating his life and works. The festivities started early as the exhibition Rose, Rose, Rose à mes yeux: James Ensor and Still Life in Belgium 1830-1930 will open to the public on Saturday.

2024 will mark the 75th anniversary of Ensor's death, and Ostend is paying tribute to the man whose life and works have become synonymous with the city. Ensor spent his entire life in Ostend except for three years of study in Brussels. In 1935, he said during a speech on the occasion of his 75th birthday: “Ostend is now my great Mother and comfort."

Mu.ZEE said in its press release: "Ensor is rooted in the DNA of Ostend, and the city deliberately manifests itself as 'Ensor City'." The city owns more than 350 pieces by Ensor, including 22 paintings, and the year-long event will feature at least four exhibitions.

James Ensor's Rose, Rose, Rose à mes yeux © MU.ZEE
James Ensor's Rose, Rose, Rose à mes yeux © MU.ZEE

Ensor was known for his playful yet haunting mask paintings and still lifes, which will be heavily featured in the first exhibition opening at Mu.ZEE. Curated by Bart Verschaffel and Sabine Taevernier, the collection focuses entirely on the artist's still lifes for the first time. Approximately 50 works will be on display.

To capture the essence of 19th-century painting in Belgium, the curators have called on other greats from the period, including Antoine Wiertz and René Magritte. There will also be attention to often forgotten female artists such as Alice Ronner and Georgette Meunier, to give a complete overview of Belgium's still life masters.

"During this century, several talented painters searched for ways to revive the genre," said Dominique Savelkoul, director of Mu.ZEE. "This had become an ostentatious, decorative genre devoid of artistic commitment, both pictorially and iconographically. Ensor illustrates both the general trend and his own exceptional quality."

The works on display are on loan from the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent and numerous public institutions and private collections.



#FlandersNewsService | James Ensor's Pierrot and Skeleton in a Yellow Robe © ALBUM ARCHIVO

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