Becks-Malorny 『James Ensor 1860-1949: Masks, Death, and the Sea』

「For me as well, art is born of pain and except in rare instances my life is bound up with bitterness and disillusions.」
(James Ensor)

Ulrike Becks-Malorny
『James Ensor 1860-1949:
Masks, Death, and the Sea』

Taschen, 2006 (original edition, 1999)
95pp, 23x18.5cm, paperback


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Outsider and Loner
Between Realism and Imagination
Parade of the Masses
Behind the Mask
Hareng Saur - Satire and Caricature
Baron Ensor - Late Fame

Life and Work

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「Outsider and Loner」より:

「As a boy Ensor was not a good student, showing talent only for drawing and painting. His father recognized his son's gifts and arranged for him to begin lessons, at age eleven, with two local artists.」


「( . . . ) at age seventeen, Ensor enrolled at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. He took courses in drawing from antique casts and in painting from nature. But the dry conventional instruction piqued and discouraged him. "I was forced," Ensor later wrote, "to paint from a colorless plaster cast a bust of Octavian, the grandest of all Caesars. This plaster got my goat. I painted it a pink, chicken-meat color and the hair reddish yellow, to the amusement of the students - an amusement that brought furrowed brows and harrassment in its wake. Finally the irate professors capitulated in face of my audacity. From that point on they let me go my own way, and I was able to paint from live models."」


「Ensor immersed himself in Romantic literature and waxed enthusiastic over the fantastic tales of Edgar Allan Poe.」


「Between Realism and Imagination」より:

「Gradually but continually Ensor turned away from a realistic, objective view of the world and towards a realm of the imaginary and fantastic. Obsessions and anxieties apparently played just as great a role in this development as Ensor's penchant for mystifying things and events. As his art developed, he increasingly blended reality with dream, lent everyday useful objects threatening and demonical traits, enlivened his scenes with grotesque figures, grimacing faces, masks, uncanny apparitions.
 Many art historians who deal with Ensor have interpreted this as reflecting the artist's insecure, mistrustful personality. A key piece of evidence in their case is a childhood experience Ensor himself described as crucial, and to which he repeatedly reffered in his letters and writings. ( . . . ) "One night, as I lay in my room with the light on and windows wide open on the ocean, a big sea bird, attracted by the light, came swooping down in front of me and crashed to the floor, hitting my cradle as it fell. An unforgettable impression, insane, terrible. I can still see that horrible apparition and feel the impact of that strange black bird."」


「According to many of his contemporaries, Ensor's character was dominated by irascibility and uncontrolled outbreaks. He could become unexpectedly aggressive, only to fall silent for days on end.」


「Parade of the Masses」より:

「Biblical themes played a great part in Ensor's work from the beginning. The figure of Christ was of special significance, for in a sense Ensor identified with him.」


「Ensor's statements are at times extremely cryptic, frequently ironic or sarcastic in tone, and sometimes self-contradictory in every respect.」


「Yet in person, the impression he made was apparently that of an unapproachable, almost arrogant man, as is so often the case with people who are inveterately shy.」


「All of these distorted figures - long-nosed or sheep's faces, jeering burghers, and maliciously grinning masks - are autobiographical to the extent that they convey Ensor's anger and disappointment at a town and its populace that not only did not understand him but scoffed and joked about him. The art colleagues who declined to exhibit his pictures, the family who considered his work nothing but a waste of time, the art critics who ignored or derided him, the good citizens of Ostend who thought him crazy - all of them are present in the picture.」


「Behind the Mask」より:

「But Carnival not only represents a welcome break from the daily monotony, a brief, enjoyable diversion. At the same time - and particularly with regard to Ensor - Carnival stands for an alternative world, an anarchistic world in which "real" social and political circumstances are turned upside down, taken ad absurdum, made to look ridiculous.」


「Hareng Saur - Satire and Caricature」より:

「Ensor suffered, whether he was painting or not. To the critic Dujardin he wrote, "For me as well, art is born of pain and except in rare instances my life is bound up with bitterness and disillusions."」


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Away with the Fairies


分野: パタフィジック。

趣味: 図書館ごっこ。

好物: 鉱物。スカシカシパン。タコノマクラ。

将来の夢: 石ころ。

尊敬する人物: ジョゼフ・メリック、ジョゼフ・コーネル、尾形亀之助、森田童子。

すきなことば: 「だれもいない」「ギブアウェイ」「ウポポイ」「隠密」
きらいなことば: 「人と人とのつながり」「キャリアアップ」「ほぼほぼ」「三密」


netakiri nekotaroの最近読んだ本