James Ensor @ The Royal Academy

James Ensor, Skeletons Fighting over a Pickled Herring, 1891, oil on panel, 16 x 21.5 cm (Photo © Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, photo: J. Geleyns - Ro scan / © DACS 2016)
James Ensor, Skeletons Fighting over a Pickled Herring, 1891, oil on panel, 16 x 21.5 cm (Photo © Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, photo: J. Geleyns - Ro scan / © DACS 2016)

Elizabeth Fullerton reviews the recent exhibition Intrigue: James Ensor by Luc Tuymans at the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Fullerton writes: "In his curation, Tuymans has played down the cliché of his countryman as a romantic outcast. The show’s sixty-six paintings, drawings, and prints primarily from Ensor’s productive early career include satirical images, landscapes, intimate portraits, and fantastical compositions, underscoring Ensor’s versatility. ... With a light curatorial touch, Tuymans has emphasized the modernity of Ensor’s sardonic vision of a society governed by artifice and intrigue, a vision that feels very relevant today.”