James Ensor

(1860-1949)

Still life with fruit, flowers and pink pitcher

1936
Oil on canvas
40 x 49 cm (15 ³/₄ x 19 ¹/₄ inches)
Signed lower right: Ensor

Signed lower right: ENSOr

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Literature
- Liber Veritas, p. 69 (folio 33r, lower right)
- Tricot, X., James Ensor. Catalogue raisonné of the paintings (Gent: Pandora / Orthelius, 1990), p. 610, no. 691 (ill.).
- Tricot, X., James Ensor. Leven en werk. Oeuvrecatalogus van de schilderijen (Brussel: Mercatorfonds, 2009), p. 396, no. 709 (ill.).
Exhibitions
- 1966, Geneva, Galerie Motte, Cruche rose, fleurs et fruits, no. 25
- 1968-69, Zeebrugge, Estro Armonico
- 1969, Brussels, Estro Armonico
- 1985, Paris, Galerie René Drouet
Provenance
- Collection Baron Athanase de Broqueville, Brussels
- Collection Baron Henri de Broqueville, Rhode-St-Genèse
- Private collection, Belgium
Description
The still life has been a popular genre of painting for centuries, and it has a long tradition. By the end of the 19th century, however, the still life changes considerably. Artists in Belgium abandon the classical, extremely realistically painted and arranged compositions. Exotic bouquets are replaced by flowers from the garden, luxury items give way to everyday pots and vases. More exuberant colours are used, and the images become more abstract. But the most important development: artists use the still life as a testing ground for their quest for form, colour and composition. The artist chooses the form that suits the feeling he wants to convey and ties in with his way of working. The colour palette plays a very explicit part in expressionism: objects are often given a colour that does not suit them, but that conveys a feeling. Whit this still life James Ensor shows he is a true colourist who deliberately use colour effects to enhance the power of expression of his work. According to Ensor himself, the still life enables him to show what he is capable of as an artist. The painter consciously opts for a more exact or less exact representation of the matter to be painted. In this way the texture - rendering of material - of the object contributes to the recognisability and the experience of the still life. At last, but not at least, the still life is usually composed with great care. Ensor arranges the objects for as long as it takes to create the composition that is perfect for him. He then immortalises this composition as a Still life with fruit, flowers and pink pitcher. 
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Still life with fruit, flowers and pink pitcher