James Ensor Quotes

Who was James Ensor?

James Sidney Edouard, Baron Ensor was a Belgian painter with a big influence on expressionism and surrealism.

Born April 13, 1860
Died November 19, 1949
Aged 89 years old

Books by James Ensor



Best 23 Quotes by James Ensor

“A correct line cannot inspire lofty feelings. It is the enemy of genius, incapable of expressing passion, anxiety, struggle, sorrow, enthusiasm, poetry.”

“Cannoniers to your guns! Brace at your batteries! Blast night and day… Art clears a path by means of cannon shots.”

“Disparagement beats down on me like hail. My umbrella is always to hand; I’m abused, I’m insulted, I exist, I’m mad, I’m simpleminded, I’m nasty, wicked, incapable, ignorant, a creampuff gone rotten.”

“Drenched in British purples, I have offered up my tones: pigeon breast, hind belly, balky mule lung, monkey bottom pink, lapis lazuli and malachite, excited nymph thigh, panther pee-pee, high-smelling hen hair, hedgehog in aspic, barrel-maker's brothel, revered rose, monkeybush, turkey-like white, sly violet, page's slipper, immaculate nun spring, unspeakable red, Ensor azure, affected yellow, mummy skull, rock-hard gray, brunt celadon, shop soiled smoke ring.”

“I am inclined to presuppose that art has nothing to do with morality—it is far above it.”

“I don’t have children, but light is my daughter.”

“I need shock effects to impress.”

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“I receive a rain of criticism: since then I have not let go of my umbrella.”

“I’m a creampuff gone rotten.”

“In our house, all you hear is groaning.”

“Let us all promptly praise the great Einstein and his relative orders, but condemn algebraism and its square roots, the surveyors and their cubic reasons. I say that the world is round…”

“My art tends toward the literary. My pictures tend toward the outskirts of painting: But why generalize? It is possible to realize one thing or another, according to the impressions gained from one point of view or another. But it is too difficult to make a general rule.”

“My writings, or self-important swaggerings presaging a final collapse in the filthy swamp.”

“Oh, beautiful modernity! What crimes are committed in your name!”

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“Our minuscule pug is very smart and quite sensitive. I’ve played Wagner for him; he let out heartrending cries and bit Mitche nastily. He entertains us greatly.”

“Reason and nature are the enemy of the artist.”

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“I wear myself out and struggle with the sun. And what a sun here! It would be necessary to paint here with gold and gemstones. It is wonderful.”


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“The artist must invent his style, and each new work demands its own.”

“The light devours the objects.”

“The mask means to me: freshness of color, sumptuous decoration, wild unexpected gestures, very shrill expressions, exquisite turbulence.”

“Undoubtedly, the artist doesn’t like women because he is always abusing them in his compositions.”

“Vision changes while it observes.”

“Why satisfy the vile desire of the crowd… a desire without nobility, a curiosity that weighs heavily on us, the super-sensitive. Let us resist communion with the mob! To be artists, let us live in hiding!”

“Yes, dear friends, from the dawn of my first day Venus came to meet me. So I painted her quickly: she sank her teeth into my brushes, gobbled up my paint. She preyed on my painted shells.”

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“Have no fear of perfection - you’ll never reach it.”


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