Although a member of Octave Maus's movement, the Groupe des XX, and later the Libre Esthétique, James Ensor (1860 - 1949) remained a highly singular artist, marked by the obsessive themes of death and desire.
Spanning a half century, his etchings drew abundantly on the great grotesque genres of earlier Flemish art while opening the way to later avant-garde manifestations, such as expressionism and surrealism.
Les Péchés Capitaux dominés par la Mort, frontispice
The Deadly Sins dominated by Death, frontispiece
Delteil 126, Taevernier 126, Elesh 131
etching, 1904, the only known state
This small print encapsulates Ensor's fascination with human foibles under the macabre eye and outspread wings of a grinning death's head.