Rose, Rose, Rose à mes yeux. James Ensor and still lifes in Belgium from 1830 to 1930.


Romestraat 11
Oostende 8400
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groups from 15 pp: 13 EUR
youth from 13 to 25 years old: 3 EUR
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In Flanders, 2024 is dedicated to James Ensor. It will then be 75 years since these great Ostend master died. It will be considerably commemorated in Ostend, the city where Ensor was born and spent his entire life. MU.ZEE, together with Fort Napoleon, gives the starting signal to this special year. MU.ZEE presents this with the exhibition Rose, Rose, Rose, à mes yeux! James Ensor and still life in Belgium 1830-1930.

Rose, Rose, Rose, à mes yeux! James Ensor and Still Life in Belgium 1830-1930 is the first exhibition ever devoted entirely to Ensor’s still lifes. The exhibition follows the evolution at the heart of Ensor’s body of work and within Belgium’s history of still life.

In Ensor’s works, still life plays an important role. The quality and significance of his intriguing, complex still lifes become clear when they are encapsulated in the development of this genre in Belgium from 1830 to 1930. In the 19th century, during which still life was reduced to a decorative genre of flower arrangements and pomp, without any material commitment or artistic interest, it was enhanced in several ways: by ‘monumentalising’, embellishing the image with exotic objects, dolls, masks, etc., or treating it as part of an interior. Ensor’s work is the tipping point in which the bourgeois pomp loses its credibility, the painter breaks free from the conventions of the genre, and the image dissolves in light and colour.

The exhibition offers about 150 works, an overview of the 19th-century, academic, and decorative tradition from Antoine Wiertz to Frans Mortelmans, with many forgotten but very skilled painters and, in their time, very successful painters like Jean Robie and Hubert Bellis.

Around 30 works by Ensor from public and private collections from home and abroad are placed alongside 120 mostly unknown, rarely or never public still lifes that illustrate the development of the illustrative genre in Belgium (Antoine Wiertz, Jean Robie, Hubert Bellis, Frans Mortelmans, Marie de Bièvre, Louis Thévenet, Marthe Donas, Walter Vaes, Rik Wouters, Jean Brusselmans, etc.). Particular attention is also paid to completely forgotten female painters such as Alice Ronner and Georgette Meunier and the isolated figure of Henri de Braekeleer. A unique journey through still lifes of the 19th and 20th centuries.