previews

  • James Ensor

    Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
    Römerberg
    December 17, 2005–March 19, 2006

    Curated by Ingrid Pfeiffer

    This retrospective of around eighty paintings and sixty works on paper draws on the rich history of James Ensor’s German reception. Since the 1890s, the Belgian artist’s output has been collected by German institutions (several of which are lenders), and its impact is visible from Expressionism to Dada and beyond. Emil Nolde was among those who made pilgrimages to visit Ensor, whose work anticipates the pictorial experiments and anarcho-socialist politics of Dada in Zurich and Berlin. One might quibble with curator Pfeiffer’s stated aim to present Ensor’s oeuvre as an instance of “postmodern stylistic pluralism”—wasn’t Ensor (1860–1949), from beginning to end, a desperate, idiosyncratic modernist?—but the show’s timeliness is difficult to contest.