'Doctrinal Nourishment' by James Ensor

In 1889 or 1890 James Ensor executed a print, titled Alimentation doctrinaire (Doctrinal Nourishment). It has been engraved on an unbevelled zinc plate, measuring 180 x 240 mm. The engraving has been reproduced for the first time in the print catalogue raisonné, published by Auguste Taevernier in 1973. (1) Loys Delteil, in 1925, and Albert Croquez, in 1947, also mention the print in their respectively catalogue raisonné, however without reproducing it. (2) Delteil doen't date the print but classifies it with the prints of the year 1889. Émile Verhaeren, in 1908, and Herbert von Garvens-Garvensburg, in 1913, date it 1890. (3) The print has also been inventoried by James N. Elesh in his catalogue raisonné, published in 1982. (4)

James Ensor, Doctrinal Nourishment (first plate), 1889-90, final state, etching and drypoint, 180 x 240 mm (Stedelijk Prentenkabinet/Museum Plantin-Moretus, Antwerp).
James Ensor, Doctrinal Nourishment (first plate), 1889-90, final state, etching and drypoint, 180 x 240 mm (Stedelijk Prentenkabinet/Museum Plantin-Moretus, Antwerp).

The proofs of this print are extremely rare and were supposedly unfindable during Ensor's lifetime. (5) Differentiating the different states remains very difficult, if not hazardous. Even Taevernier, as well as Elesh, adopt the descriptions of the five states given by the Ensor print specialist Paul Van der Perre in 1955. (6)

The question remains whether there are actually five different states. Van der Perre doesn't mention where and in which circumstances he was able to examine and to define five states. It is highly possible that he examined the proofs only after Croquez described them in his first edition of the catalogue raisonné, published in 1935. (7) Anyway, Croquez mentions four states in the 1935 edition of his catalogue raisonné, omitting to mention the signature lower right, in the final state. Strangely, Croquez did not copy his own descriptions of the 1935 edition in his 1947 edition. The reason why remains unclear. However, in the 1947 edition, he states: 'We are not aware of any proofs on the market. We owned four states that were lost during the War. Technically the plate was too sulphured and shows an unpleasant grainy aspect.' Have the presumed lost proofs in the four different states appeared again, and was Paul Van der Perre then able to study and describe them in his article of 1955?

We think that his first and his second state overlap and constitute one state. Due to different inking, foul biting and printing accidents, all the proofs (even in the same state) differ significantly, which makes it difficult to distinguish them and to identify the state. Taevernier reproduces a state he indicates as to be the second state. However, when reading his notice it seems not to correspond with it. The illustration (p. 200) shows a signature lower right appearing only (according to his own descriptions) in the fourth state. The same proof is reproduced by Elesh, with the mention IV/V. (8)

Only a few public institutions and private collectors around the world own a proof of the print.
- The Ghent Museum of Fine Arts owns a proof in the second state (inv. no. 1998-B-79-2), formerly in the Auguste Taevernier collection. (9) This proof is not reproduced by Taevernier in his catalogue raisonné. It is signed in pencil in the lower margin. 

- The Stedelijk Prentenkabinet at Museum Plantin Moretus (Antwerp) owns a proof in the final state (inv. no. PK.MP.09499), reproduced by Taevernier (p. 200). (10)

- The proof in the final state, cited by Croquez in the 1935 edition of his catalogue raisonné, is the one sold at auction at the Galerie Georges Giroux (Brussels), on 17 December 1925, lot no. 75. It is pulled on Japan paper, signed, entitled and dated by Ensor lower right in the margin, and signed and numbered 5 on the verso. It was acquired by Albert Croquez.

- Another rare proof in the first state is also known. (11)

- A rare, probably unique, counterproof, pulled on tissue thin China paper, formerly in the collection Johan Behaegel (Belgium), has been sold at Sotheby's (London), on 27 September 2016, lot no. 53. It is currently owned by the Ensor Foundation. The sale catalogue describes it as "counterproof of Elesh's first state (of five)". A handwritten inscription (not Ensor's, probably the printer's) is written upside down in pencil at the top of the counterproof: contre épreuve du 3e état [counterproof of 3rd state]".

- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art owns a hand-coloured proof (inv. no. M.2007.6), formerly in the Tom Firman Collection, once owned by the renowned Belgian art collector Gustave Van Geluwe (Brussels). It is a hand-coloured proof in the first state. The blank area above the king's head can still be seen. An almost illegible signature in capitals appears at the left side in the middle. (12)

- The Ghent Museum of Fine Arts owns the hand-coloured proof (inv. no. 1998-B-79-1), formerly in the Auguste Taevernier collection. (13) It is signed ENSOR in white gouache lower right on the printed surface, and is dated 1895 in pencil lower right in the margin. The date could indicate that Ensor enhanced the proof in 1895, the year he executed the second plate of the subject. Taevernier describes these two hand-coloured proofs indicating that is hard to identify the states as the colours cover the details, even the signatures. (14)

- A third known hand-coloured proof also belongs to the Ensor Foundation. It once belonged to the Shickman and Loobuyck collections. (15) This hand-coloured proof in the first state, is signed in yellow gouache in the upper right corner. In this hand-coloured proof and in the one in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts (Ghent) Ensor added a golden sceptre, at the right of king Leopold II. By comparing these three hand-coloured proofs, it becomes clear that the hand-colouring by Ensor altered the original composition. Many printed details have vanished, other details have been added by Ensor which makes it difficult to determine the state of the proof.  

According to Ensor's letter of November 1890 to the Belgian engraver Daniel De Haene, it seems that he was still reworking the plate in 1890. (16)

Ensor writes that by 're-working' the zinc plate, he used too much acid. It is unclear if he means that he wanted to rework the drawing already engraved in the varnish (and, so doing, in order to obtain a new state of the print), or simply that he wanted to have his plate etched (which failed). In his undated letter, but dating from between 10 and 28 January 1891, Ensor writes to his Brussels patron Mariette Rousseau, wife of Dr Ernest Rousseau, dean of the Brussels University that he needed proofs to be printed by the Brussels printer Joseph Bouwens for the next exhibition of Les XX in Brussels. (17)

But what happened to the zinc plate between November 1890 and January 1891? Did Ensor finally tried to save it but destroyed it? It is confusing to read that Ensor wants to show his print Doctrinal Nourishment at the Brussels salon of Les XX of 1891, knowing that the plate was completely damaged. The aspect of the print is unattractive because of foul biting. Did the foul biting occur, in fact, only after January 1891? If this is the case, some early proofs, with a "regular" aspect, must have been pulled before the biting accident. Alimentation doctrinaire is also the subject of a drawing, exhibited at the 8th salon of Les XX (Brussels), in 1891, and at the first salon of La Libre Esthétique (Brussels), in 1894. (18)

Did Ensor, finally, decided to exhibit the drawing of Alimentation doctrinaire, instead of the print, and did he made the drawing before or after the realisation of the print? Unfortunately, the drawing seems to be lost. In another letter written between 10 and 28 January 1891, Ensor writes to Mariette Rousseau that he will rework his plate, but only in Brussels. (19) Taking to account the several states of the plate, it is sure that Ensor reworked his plate, but was finally unable to save it. Many of the failed proofs have been hand-coloured to 'camouflage' the bad condition of the plate. Ensor, finally, engraved a new plate with same subject, in 1895 or 1896, and not in 1889, as mentioned by Croquez (in his 1935 edition) and Taevernier. (20) Verhaeren mentions the second plate under the year 1895. (21) 

James Ensor, Doctrinal Nourishment (second plate), 1895-96, only state, etching, 180 x 250 mm (Print Room, Royal Library of Belgium, Brussels).
James Ensor, Doctrinal Nourishment (second plate), 1895-96, only state, etching, 180 x 250 mm (Print Room, Royal Library of Belgium, Brussels).
In this ferocious caricature Ensor attacks the great and good of Belgium at the time of King Leopold II. Sitting on a beam, five figures defecate on a crowd beneath them. In the centre is King Leopold II. On his right are a gendarme and a Member of Parliament, on his left a bishop and a priest. A small sign attached to the gendarme's back reads: Service personnel [Personal service]. The MP is holding a placard reading Suffrage universel [Universal suffrage], the demand of the socialists.

The priest holds a placard reading Enseignement obligatoire [Compulsory education], a reference to the many conflicts between the providers of secular schools and Catholic education. At the left, under the seated priest and bishop, the fainted silhouette of a monster's head can be perceived. This significant detail has been so far overlooked. This monster seems to swallow or to spew out the squeezed crowd. The composition could partly be inspired by The Last Judgment (1558), engraving by Hieronymus Cock (1518-1570), after a drawing by Bruegel the Elder. (22) As Jesus, sitting on a rainbow, the great and good sit above the mass. At the lower right of Cock's engraving a monster is swallowing people, as in Ensor's print, at the lower left. In his letter, dated 2 August 1888, to Ernest Rousseau Jr, Ensor describes an apocalyptical nightmare, reminiscent to Bosch's world. (23) Ensor's 'vision' could be one of the sources of Doctrinal Nourishment, and eventually of Belgium in the 19th Century, Ensor's etching, dated 1889. (24) Even before King Albert I gave him the title of baron in 1929, Ensor scratched the whole surface of the printing plate to make it unusable. He refused to have any more proofs pulled, no doubt considering it too subversive.           

Footnotes

(1) Auguste Taevernier, James Ensor. Illustrated Catalogue of his Engravings, their Critical Description and Inventory of the Plates, Ledeberg (Ghent), Impr. Erasmus, 1973, no. 79, pp. 199-205 (ill.).
(2) Loys Delteil, Le Peintre Graveur Illustré. Tome Dix-neuvième: Henri Leys - Henri de Braekeleer - James Ensor, Paris, Chez l'Auteur, 1925, no. 79 (not paginated; not illustrated); Albert Croquez, L'Œuvre gravé de James Ensor, Geneva-Brussels, Éditions Pierre Cailler, 1947, no. 79 (not paginated; not illustrated).
(3) Émile Verhaeren, James Ensor, Brussels, G. Van Oest & Cie, 1908, p. 128; Herbert von Garvens-Garvensburg, James Ensor. Maler/Radierer/Komponist. Ein Hinweis mit dem vollständigen Katalog seines Radierten Werkes, Hanover, Ludwig Ey, 1913, p. 28.
(4) James N. Elesh, James Ensor. The Complete Graphic Work (The Illustrated Bartsch, vol. 141), New York, Abaris Books, 1982, no. 79, p. 144 (ill.).
(5) Delteil, op. cit., unpaginated.
(6) Paul Van der Perre, 'Quelques notes pratiques sur l'œuvre gravé de James Ensor. De la           discrimination à faire entre les divers tirages. Complément aux catalogues méthodiques de l'œuvre', Le Livre et l'estampe (Brussels), no. 4, 1 September 1955, pp. 22-32.
(7) Albert Croquez, L'Œuvre gravé de James EnsorCatalogue raisonné, Paris, Maurice Le Garrec, 1935, no. 79, p. 27 (not illustrated).
(8) See note 4.
(9) See website James Ensor Museum online.
(10) Idem.
(11) Exh. cat. James Ensor, graveur, Japan, 2001, p. 120, no. 138 (ill.).
(12) Exh. cat. Theresa Papanikolas, Doctrinal Nourishment: art and anarchism in the time of James Ensor, Los Angeles County Museum of Arts, 10 April-6 July 2008.
(13) Taevernier, ill. p. 202.
(14) Taevernier, pp. 203-205.
(15) Cat. The Extraordinary Visions of James Ensor. 60 Fantastic Etchings 1886-1904, New York, Theodore B. Donson Ltd., 25 April- 13 June 1981, no. 23 (ill.); Exh. cat. James Ensor (1860-1949), Visionär der Moderne. Gemälde, Zeichnungen und das druckgraphische Werk aus der Sammlung Gerard Loobuyck, 1999-2000, p. 108 (ill.); Exh. cat. James Ensor. Obra grafica completa, Madrid, Fundacion Carlos de Amberes, 1 October-8 December 2010, no. 75 (ill.).(16) James Ensor. A Collection of Prints, Presented for sale by Artemis Fine Arts & C G Boerner, Catalogue by Eric Gillis with the collaboration of Patrick Florizoone, New York, C.G. Boerner, 2002, p. 201.
(17) Archives of Contemporary Arts in Belgium, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, Rousseau Archives, inv. 119.747.
(18) Brussels, Musée de Peinture, Les XX, VIIIe Exposition annuelle, 7 February - 8 March 1891, cat. no. 12; Brussels, Musée moderne, La Libre Esthétique, Ie Exposition, 17 February - 15 March 1894, cat. no. 181.
(19) Archives of Contemporary Art in Belgium, Royal Museums for Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, Rousseau Archives, inv. 119.749.
(20) Croquez (1935) 80; Taevernier 80.
(21) Émile Verhaeren, James Ensor, Brussels, G. Van Oest & Cie, 1908, p. 128.
(22)  See exh. cat. Hieronymus Cock. La Gravure à la Renaissance, Brussels, Fonds Mercator, 2013, no. 53.8, p. 225.
(23)  Archives of Contemporary Art in Belgium, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, Rousseau Archives, inv. 119.707.
(24)  Taevernier 81; Elesh 81.

Doctrinal Nourishment (First plate) 1889-90

D. 79 Cr. 79 T. 79 E. 79
Etching and drypoint, with sulphuring (zinc plate, unbevelled)
180 x 240 mm

1st state
The inscriptions BELGIQUE EN 1889 / ALIMENTATION DOCTRINAIRE are barely legible. The inscriptions INSTRUCTION OBLIGATOIRE, SERVICE PERSONNEL and SUFFRAGE UNIVERSEL are almost illegible. The bishop's profile is not delineated. A blank area appears above the king's head. Below the inscription INSTRUCTION OBLIGATOIRE, an almost indecipherable signature appears at the left border of which only the last letters O and R are visible.

2nd state
The right part of the white rectangle area above the king's head has been darkened with cross-hatchings. The various inscriptions, as mentioned in the 1st state, have been reworked. The priester's cap, at the left, has been darkened. The king's crown, the bishop's mitre and the general's kepi have been lightened. The bishop's ear has been added. The space between the heads of the two figures at the right is blackened. Signed lower right: ENSOR (almost illegible, just at the right of the tip of the tailcoat).

3th state
Some parts of the background have been cleaned. The black area between the two figures, at the right, has been lightened. The signature in capitals lower right has been reworked and is now clearly legible: ENSOR.

Bibliography
Reproduced for the first time in Taevernier. Delteil and Croquez do not reproduce the print. Taevernier reproduces his first and his second state, as well as a hand-coloured proof in his second state. Elesh reproduces his fourth state. The proof reproduced by Taevernier (p. 200) with the mention 2/5 (second state), is reproduced by Elesh with the mention IV/V (fourth state). Croquez (1935) mentions four states. Taevernier and Elesh mention five states. Verhaeren and Garvensburg date the print 1890. Delteil does not date the print but classified it among the prints of 1889.

Remarks

This print is extremely rare and was even unfindable during Ensor's lifetime.

Differentiating the different states remains very difficult, if not hazardous. We have to rely on the descriptions made by previous Ensor print specialists. Even Taevernier, as well as Elesh, adopt the descriptions of the different states given by Paul Van der Perre in his article 'Quelques notes pratique sur l'œuvre gravé de James Ensor. De la discrimation à faire entre les divers triages. Complément aux catalogues méthodiques de l'œuvre, published by Le Livre et l'estampe (no. 4, 1 September 1955, pp. 22-32). The question remains if the total of five states really exist. Paul Van der Perre didn't mention where and in which circumstances he was able to examine and to define five states. It is highly possible that Van der Perre examined the proofs only after Croquez described them in his first edition of the catalogue raisonné, published in 1935. Anyway, Croquez (1935) mention four states, omitting to mention the signature lower right. The proof sold at auction at the Galerie Georges Giroux (Brussels), on 17 December 1925, cited by Croquez, is lot no. 75. We think that his first and his second state overlap and constitute one state. Due to different inking, foul biting and printing accidents, all the proofs (even in the same state) differ significantly, which makes it difficult to distinguish them and to identify the state. Strangely, Croquez did not copy his descriptions of the 1935 edition in his 1947 edition. The reason why remains unclear. But in the 1947 edition, he states: 'We are not aware of any proofs on the market. We owned four proofs that were lost during the War. Technically the plate has been too sulphured and shows a rough unpleasant aspect.' Have the presumed lost proofs in the four states appeared again, and was Paul Van der Perre able to study and describe them in his article of 1955? Taevernier reproduces a state which he indicates as to be the second state. However, when reading his notice it seems not to correspond with it. The illustration (p. 200) shows a signature lower right which appears (according to his own descriptions) on his fourth state (our final state).

Only a few public institutions and private collectors around the world own a proof of the print. The Ghent Museum of Fine Arts owns a proof in the second state (inv. no. 1998-B-79-2), formerly in the Auguste Taevernier collection. This proof is not reproduced by Taevernier in his catalogue raisonné. It is signed in pencil in the lower margin. The Stedelijk Prentenkabinet/Museum Plantin-Moretus (Antwerp) owns a proof in the final state (inv. no. PK.MP.09499), reproduced by Taevernier (p. 200). A proof in the final state, cited above by Croquez, has been sold at the sale of Ensor's prints at the Galerie Georges Giroux (Brussels), on 17 December 1925, lot no. 75. This proof, pulled on Japan paper, is signed, titled and dated by Ensor lower right in the margin, and signed and numbered 5 on the verso. It was acquired by Ensor's friend, the French lawyer and art collector Albert Croquez.

Another proof in the first state is also known [Japan, 2001, no. 138, p. 120]. A rare, probably unique, counterproof, pulled on tissue thin China paper, formerly in the collection Johan Behaegel (Belgium), has been sold at Sotheby's (London), on 27 September 2016 (lot no. 53), and is currently owned by the Ensor Foundation. The sale catalogue describes it as 'counterproof of Elesh's first state (of five)'. A handwritten inscription (not Ensor's, probably the printer's) is written upside down in pencil at the top of the counterproof: contre épreuve du 3e état [counterproof of 3rd state]".

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art owns a hand-coloured proof (inv. no. M.2007.6), formerly in the Firman Collection, once owned by the renowned Belgian art collector Gustave Van Geluwe (Brussels). It is a hand-coloured proof in the first state. The blank area above the king's head can still be seen. The added signature ENSOR in black appears at the left, at the centre. The Ghent Museum of Fine Arts owns the hand-coloured proof (inv. no. 1998-B-79-1), formerly in the Auguste Taevernier collection (Taevernier, ill. p. 202). It is signed ENSOR in white gouache lower right on the printed surface, and is dated 1895 in pencil lower right in the margin. The date could indicate that Ensor enhanced the proof in 1895, the year he executed the second plate. Concerning these two hand-coloured proofs Taevernier writes: 'In view of the significance of this unique engraving in Ensor's work, we describe in detail the two proofs embellished with water-colour and gouache. One of these was in the Van Geluwe collection. It was taken on a strong paper, a kind of cardboard, which did not stand the pressure on its edges, where the paper cracked. A watermark can be discerned, although barely visible. The print bears a signature on the left, towards the middle. The two other signatures on the left are distinctly visible. The second proof is in our personal collection. It was taken on Japan and differs considerably from the first one, although it was taken from the state the fourth or the fifth, it is hard to say which as the colours cover the details, even the signatures. The colouring was more carefully done and the teeming crowd at the foot was detailed more precisely: some heads wear head-gear they do not have in the first print. Two clerics can also be seen in the left foreground. They were not on the other proof. The mitred figure behind them is not in the same place. Ensor did not blindly follow the design of the etching. Some heads remain in the shadow. A figure wearing a huge kepi who did not appear in the etching is now to be found on the right about 1¼" - 3 cm from the lower edge. A small cross on top of the king's crown and the sceptre in his hand have also been added. The head above the politician has grown into a respledent sun. The inscription "Instruction obligatoire" (Compulsory education) has been abbreviated. The print is signed in large capitals by paint-brush (white on black). It is undated.' [Taevernier, pp. 203-205]. A third known hand-coloured proof belongs to the Ensor Foundation. It once belonged to the Shickman and Loobuyck collections [Donson, 1981, no. 23 (colour ill.); Germany, 1999-2000, p. 108 (colour ill.); Madrid, 2010, no. 75, p. 150 (colour ill.)]. This hand-coloured proof in the first state, is signed in yellow gouache in the upper right corner. It also shows a sceptre at the right of the king. In two of the three known hand-coloured proofs Ensor added a golden sceptre, at the right of king Leopold II. By comparing these three hand-coloured proofs, it becomes clear that the hand-colouring by Ensor altered the original composition. Many printed details have varnished, other details have been added by Ensor making it difficult to determine the state of the proof.                              

According to Ensor's letter of November 1890 to the Belgian amateur engraver Daniel De Haene, it seems that he was still reworking the plate in 1890: 'The thoroughly well varnished copper plates enjoyed me, but unfortunately by reworking the zinc plate Doctrinal Nourishment, I used too strong acid. You can guess the result... I damaged the plate and I have to start the work again. Instead of all your good advices, I will never be a skilled etcher.' [Boerner, 2002, p. 201]. Ensor writes that by reworking the zinc plate, he used too much acid. It is unclear if he means that he wanted to rework the drawing already engraved in the varnish (and, so doing, in order to obtain a new state of the print), or simply that he wanted to have his plate etched (which failed). In his letter, dated between 10 and 28 January 1891, Ensor writes to Mariette Rousseau: 'I need thorough exhibition proofs. He [Bouwens] has to send me them as soon as possible because I want to send them to the next exhibition of Les XX. Not too dark, especially the small town view [Music on Rue de Flandre, Ostend?] and the nourishment [Doctrinal Nourishment]' (ACAB, RMFAB, Brussels, Rousseau Archives, inv. 119.747). What happened with the zinc plate between November 1890 and January 1891? Did Ensor finally tried to save it? It is troubling to read that Ensor wanted to show his print Doctrinal Nourishment at the salon of Les XX of 1891, knowing that the plate was completely damaged. The aspect of the print is unattractive because of foul biting. Alimentation doctrinaire is mentioned, under the header 'Dessins relevés' [Enhanced drawings], in the 1891 exhibition catalogue of Les XX. Did Ensor, finally, decided to exhibit the drawing of Alimentation doctrinaire, instead of the print, and did he made the drawing before or after the realisation of the print? In another letter written between 10 and 28 January 1891, Ensor writes to Mariette Rousseau: 'I have to rework the nourishment [Doctrinal Nourishment], but I will do it in Brussels.' (ACAB, RMFAB, Brussels, Rousseau Archives, inv. 119.749). Has the foul biting occurred rather after January 1891? It his is the case then some early proofs must exist which have a regular aspect. Taking to account the several states of the plate, it is sure that Ensor reworked his plate, but was finally unable to save it. Many of the failed proofs have been hand-coloured in order to 'camouflage' the bad condition of the plate. Ensor, finally, engraved a new plate with same subject, in 1895 or 1896 [Tr. 103].

Description

In this ferocious caricature Ensor attacks the great and good of Belgium. Five figures  defecate on a crowd. In the centre is King Leopold II. On his right are a gendarme and a member of parliament, on his left a bishop and a priest. A small sign attached to the gendarme's back reads: Service personnel [Personal service]. The Member of Parliament is holding a placard reading Suffrage universel [Universal suffrage], the demand of the socialists. The priest holds a placard reading Enseignement obligatoire [Compulsory education], a reference to the many conflicts between the providers of secular schools and Catholic education. At the left, under the seated priest and bishop, the fainted silhouette of a monster's head can be perceived. This monster seems to swallow or to spew out the squeezed crowd. The composition could be partly inspired by The Last Judgment (1558), engraving by Hieronymus Cock (1518-1570), after a drawing by Bruegel the Elder. As Jesus, sitting on a rainbow, the great and good sit above the mass. At the lower right of Cock's engraving a monster is swallowing people, as in Ensor's print, at the lower left. In a letter, dated 2 August 1888, to Ernest Rousseau, Jr., Ensor describes a terrible nightmare, or a fantastic vision, with the most vivid details: 'The monster was satisfied and had a lot of fun, repeated his screams and he added: 'long live Belgium in the XIXth century'. I am doctrinarian, I walk without moving forward, etc. In the background, I saw rooms full of insects struggling in atrocious pain of suffocation. Women and children observed it coolly, without any emotion and looked at the poor animals jumping in despair, struggling against a slow and very ugly death. I could not bare this vision any more, I fell inanimated, still hearing the monsters shouting: Long live Belgium. Long live the XIXth century and the doctrinarians. In two thousand years we shall still be the same. Death to the sensitive people. Vivisection is necessary.' (ACAB, RMFAB, Brussels, Rousseau Archives, inv. 119.707). Even before King Albert I had given him the title of Baron in 1929, Ensor refused to have any more prints pulled, no doubt considering it too subversive. It is unknown when Ensor scratched the whole surface of the printing plate.

See also exh. cat. Theresa Papanikolas, Doctrinal Nourishment: art and anarchism in the time of James Ensor, Los Angeles County Museum of Arts, 10 April-6 July 2008.

Related works

- Doctrinal Nourishment, 1889/1890, technique and measurements unknown, whereabouts unknown. The drawing has been exhibited at the 8th salon of Les XX (Brussels), in 1891 (cat. no. 12), and at the first salon of La Libre Esthétique (Brussels), in 1894 (cat. no. 181). It is not impossible that Ensor destroyed the drawing at a later stage.

- Doctrinal Nourishment, 1895-96, etching, 180 x 250 mm [Tr. 103].

Doctrinal Nourishment (Second plate) 1895/1896

D. 96 Cr. 80 T. 80 E. 80
Etching (copper plate, bevelled)
180 x 250 mm
Signed and dated lower right: J Ensor 1889
Only state.

Bibliography

Reproduced for the first time by Croquez. Delteil does not reproduce the print. Taevernier and Elesh also reproduce the print, dating it 1889. Verhaeren and Garvensburg date it 1895. Delteil does not date the print but classified it among the prints of 1895 and mentions: 'Nous n'avons pas rencontré d'épreuves de cette planche, qui est une variante de la pièce connue sous le même titre, et que nous avons mentionnée, ci-avant, sous le n° 79.'

Remarks

See Remarks Tr. 78. Wandels signals a proof, pulled in dark brown, dedicated by Ensor to Ernest Rousseau: 'à Mr Ernest Rousseau / James Ensor 1896'. On the verso, lower left, the inscription 'Epreuve n° 4' [Proof no. 4]. He signals that he saw the proof in 1976, acquired the same year by the Belgian Ensor print collector Gerard Behaegel.

Description

See Description of the first plate [Tr. 78]. The print, in mirror image, is roughly identical as the first plate, however some substantial differences occur. At first, the general appearance of the composition is clear and legible. The great and good of Belgium are sitting on a triple arch, instead of a kind of beam, while the silhouette of the monster's head, in the first plate, has disappeared. The representation of the crowd is less chaotic. Several details in the physiognomy of the five defecating figures differ from those in the first plate.

Related Works

Doctrinal Nourishment, 1889-90, etching and drypoint, 180 x 240 mm (Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent) [Tr. 79].

Author: 
Xavier Tricot