Landscapes

As far as the themes covered and the stylistic diversity is concerned, James Ensor's prints follow in the footsteps of his drawings. One exception is the landscapes. After all, Ensor made few, if any, drawings true to nature. Between 1886 and 1890 a total of 54 etched landscapes were produced resulting in a total of 133 prints. The artist etched a few views of the wood of Ostend and a series of polder landscapes with villages, detached houses or mills in Mariakerke, Leffinge, Slijkens or Oudenburg. They are uncomplicated, fragmentary studies of nature, subtle and controlled, in which Ensor clearly concentrated on the observation process. The manner is thrifty, which gives the prints a great suggestive force. As an etcher of nature Ensor was primarily intrigued by the reflection of the light in the woods and in the open polder space. Following the example of the landscape perception by the British artist William Turner, Ensor etched using small, nervous lines which vibrate with tension.