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James Ensor : Musée d'Orsay

James Ensor (1860-1949). Between "bright colors and impasto, the Belgian artist of the people rather masks, skulls and skeletons sardonic. A retrospective of the Orsay museum succeeds, so exhilarating to be around a capricious and whimsical artist who rose from the crowd with self-portrait with the same devastating irony. Then another great artist of the North, his contemporary French Henri Matisse (1869-1954), will direct all his art to the south and all kinds of Arcadia, Ensor confine all his life in Ostend, his hometown. Located on the beach then in fashion, it will not be content to seek the earliest roots of Flemish painting from Bosch to Breughel painting in which the handling of the brush does not allude to the fable or proverb. Which today characterizes the best of his work, they are borrowing massive directory carnival. His drawings, prints, canvases are full of allusions to these puppets disjointed, these effigies giant paper mache in crude colors, which can be seen on Mardi Gras in cities overseas Quiévrain, leading processions shouting and joyfully protesters. Recalling the family and other Pulcinella Punchinello, the sarabands characters painted by Ensor are often removed with a light hand. The tone, however, may be more worrisome, in images that are never very far from the surrealism. Greatly appreciated by all of the decadent Belle Epoque, in particular by Lorrain or Huysmans, one of his most famous shows two skeletons penguins currently compete for a herring. Sensitive, narcissistic, author of a hundred self-portraits easy mocking, often irresistible, Ensor could play the rebels. Fascinated by biblical works of Rembrandt, this purveyor of absolute not hesitate to identify with Christ in the paintings very inspired. With a rainbow sky to the left, a gorgeous blue sky, Christ walking on water is undoubtedly one of the finest paintings of the time. He repeated with the Old Testament: Adam and Eve expelled from paradise hints resources at his foolish when it comes to summon the imagination or beyond, in the vapor Turner. Atmospheres that electrifies more to bring Christ to Brussels after a band and a banner under contestation "Long live Socialism" in a huge table, kept at the Getty in Los Angeles, unfortunately absent from the exhibition. The "anarchist" lonely and ironic no hesitation in number of sheets and linens, to challenge the established order. When the top of the glory of the master, the king of the Belgians will Baron, when it comes to the Royal Academy, prints representing functional constituencies defecating on the population will pose some problems.Before populating his paintings of skulls and skeletons, Ensor, like all beginners, sought his subjects in his familiar world. The assertion of Impressionism and movements that depend on the left of marble. He did not need Monet to adjust the light in his paintings. He looked over the roofs and he opened his eyes on the street, Ensor painted lighter than they did in general at the time. Turning a little later, to indoor scenes, the same color sense led him to describe the table of Oyster Eater with a refinement reminiscent of Holland's Golden Age. His still lifes are as tasty as the portraits, even if the line through its uneasy smile ghost and its shells, a strange pink, can be as gaping gender. Back in Ostend after a few seasons to the Academie Royale de Peinture in Brussels where he attended a few courses without learning anything, he was threatened s'encalminer around the oil lamp family. Fortunately, poetic charge of the house of Ostend has radically altered the trajectory of the painter. If the upper floors gave the privilege to paint in their own privacy, ground floor offered him something much rarer. Held by his parents and grandmother, gift shop, which was installed is displayed in the manner of a true cabinet of curiosities, filled with all sorts of knickknacks, coral, shells glittering masks of Japan, fetishes brought from Africa or Oceania. A great cave in which Ensor regularly revitalized capital's carnival without ever touching the dividend. Indeed, in 1896, he was condemned to repeat it. Where other painters have ever conquered new territories, such as those of abstraction, Ensor chose to explore, with an indefinable charm, the same vein.

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