James Ensor @ the Art Institute of Chicago

James Ensor, The Temptation of Saint Anthony, 1887 (Regenstein Endowment and the
James Ensor, The Temptation of Saint Anthony, 1887 (Regenstein Endowment and the Louise B. and Frank H. Woods Purchase Fund. © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SABAM, Brussels.)

Mark Pohlad reviews Temptation: The Demons of James Ensor at The Art Institute of Chicago, on view through January 25, 2015.

Pohlad writes: "Ensor’s six-foot-tall drawing 'The Temptation of Saint Anthony,' 1887, is the exhibition’s thematic and physical centerpiece, set like an altarpiece at the end of a dark, chapel-like corridor. It’s a dense tangle of scary figures and texts, and a teeming universe of references to the artist’s life. The Art Institute wisely bought it in 2006; it hasn’t been shown in sixty years. Composed of fifty-one separate sheets mounted on canvas, it’s a conservation triumph. Stylistically, it’s a cross between Northern Renaissance art and the cramped doodles of underground comics. Indeed, Ensor’s drawing-based art was expressed in almost every two-dimensional media, including the then-new manufactured color pencils."