Harbour Views

In 1887 and 1888 James Ensor etched a couple of harbour views in Nieuwpoort and at the Ostend channel. Harbour views were a gift for the artist. Just like the landscapes, Ensor regarded them as studies of plays of light. He was able to represent accurately every ripple of the water and the fascinating contrast between illuminated and shaded parts of architecture against the shiny water surface. The harbour scenes inspired Ensor to produce one of his most mature compositions, Stranded Barges, an unrivalled evocation of sand, light, mist and salty air. The etched harbour views are a recollection of similar etchings produced by the American-English artist James McNeill Whistler whom Ensor had seen at exhibitions organised by Les Vingt.