Ensor’s Creative Process: Technique, Concept, Image


As the Ensor Research Project's goal is to better understand all aspects of Ensor's creative processes, a symposium has been organised in order to present a mid-term state of affairs, evaluating the present state of technical and scientific findings along with current theoretical, stylistic, iconographical and historical investigations.

James Ensor, Het schilderend geraamte

In recent years, research on material and technical aspects of the visual arts and cultural heritage has made significant progress. Thanks to the optimization of existing research tools and the development of new imaging techniques, such as Macro X-Ray Fluorescence scanning, the quality of the research data is richer than ever before. In 2013, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp started the  Ensor Research Project bringing together an interdisciplinary team with the goal of investigating the material and technical aspects of the 38 Ensor paintings in the museum’s collection. Supported by a parallel conservation treatment campaign, this project is enhancing the understanding of Ensor’s creative process considerably. Other recent research developments include  The Art Institute of Chicago’s conservation of Ensor's extraordinary drawing The Temptation of Saint Anthony (1887) presented in a book, exhibition and online scholarly catalogue.  


Friday November 20, 2015

Location: Klooster Grauwzusters, University of Antwerp, Lange Sint-Annastraat 7, 2000 Antwerp

08.30: Registration

  • 09.05: Dr. Elsje Janssen, Director of Collections, Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp
  • 09.20: Dr. Geert van der Snickt, Axes Group, University of Antwerp, FIBL Chair on advanced imaging techniques for the arts
    Innovative chemical imaging techniques applied on easel paintings by Ensor
  • 09.50: Dr. Herwig Todts, Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, Ensor Research Project
    Ensor’s project-based creative processes

10.20: Coffee and tea

  • 10.50: Karen Bonne, Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, Ensor Research Project, Koninklijk Instituut voor het Kunstpatrimonium/Institut Royal pour le Patrimoine Artistique, Brussels
    The Ensor Research project. Detailed overview of technical and material peculiarities...
  • 11.20: Kimberly Nichols, Associate Paper Conservator at The Art Institute of Chicago
    Reconstructing The Temptation: Discovering Ensor’s Artistic Process Through Conservation
  • 11.50: Dr. Nico Van Hout, Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp
    Creativity and Methodology in Painting before 1800: the Working Procedures of Peter Paul Rubens

12.20: Lunch

  • 14.00: Nanny Schrijvers, Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, Ensor Research Project
    Mapping Masks and Other Accessories in Ensor’s Paintings
  • 14.30: Prof. Dr. Claire Moran, Queens University Belfast
    Ensor’s Linguistic Performativity
  • 15.00: Prof. Dr. Marnin Young, Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University, New York
    Ensor’s Interiors
  • 15.30: Prof. Dr. Susan M. Canning, College of New Rochelle, New York
    No Boundaries: Process, Invention and the Performative Turn in James Ensor’s Practice

15.45: Coffee and tea

  • 16.20: Dr. Ina Dinter, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Kupferstichkabinett)
    “Un esprit ironique et un homme qui s’amusa volontiers“ – Irony as a Pictorial Strategy in James Ensor’s Love Gardens
  • 16.50: Prof. Dr. Joan E. Greer, University of Alberta
    Vincent van Gogh: concepts of artistic genius and the creative process in fin-the-siècle Europe

17.20: Panel

  • 18.00:  Prof. Dr. Manfred Sellink, Director, Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, University Ghent
    Concluding Remarks  

Saturday November 21, 2015 (optional day)

Location: Mu.Zee in Ostend & the Conservation Workshop Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp in Kallo. Excursion by shuttle, the excursion is free but limited to 40 participants, you need to register separately in order to take part.

09.00: Shuttle Antwerp to Ostend

  • 10.30: Ostend: Mu.Zee. Phillip van den Bossche, director, and Barbara de Jong, conservator-restorer
    Welcome & The Ensor Research Project Ostend
  • 12.00: Lunch & Visit Ensorhouse Ostend

14.00: Trip Ostend to Kallo

  • 15.30: Visit Conservation Workshop of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp in Kallo

17.00: Trip back to Antwerp (estimated time of arrival 17.30)

Het symposium wordt georganiseerd door het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, Dr. Elsje Janssen, Wetenschappelijk Directeur Collecties en Dr. Herwig Todts, curator en Ensor Research Project Coördinator in samenwerking met de Universiteit van Antwerpen, Dr. Geert Van der Snickt, Chair Advanced Imaging Techniques for the Arts, Faculty of Science, Dr. Susan M. Canning, Professor, College of New Rochelle, New York en de Vlaamse Kunstcollectie - Musea voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen Brugge Gent.


Museum offices

Lange Kievitstraat 111-113 bus 100, B-2018 Antwerpen

T +32 (0)3 224 95 50