This presentation consists almost exclusively of works from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp, a museum which boasts nearly 700 works being the largest and finest James Ensor collection known.
The innovative nature of Ensor’s paintings, etchings and drawings is the direct result of his desire to explore, in an almost systematic way, the most diverse techniques, genres and modes of representation. In a letter to the art critic Pol De Mont, written as early as 1894, he said: “j’ai étudié attentivement les manières les plus opposées” (I have attentively studied the most diverse artistic styles). And he defended his pursuit of artistic diversity, and the search for various stylistic, iconographic or technical alternatives, until advanced old age. Only in this way could an artist succeed in transporting his audience, and that was the ultimate goal for Ensor.