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Hoogmoed, James Ensor

Ensor's States of Imagination

How did Ensor make prints? What techniques did he use? In what ways did he experiment with this medium and from which old masters did he draw his inspiration? Find out the answers in this exhibition.

Saturday 28 September 2024 until Sunday 19 January 2025 from 10:00 to 17:00

In autumn 2024, the Museum Plantin-Moretus presents the exhibition Ensor's States of Imagination about Ensor's remarkable graphic adventure. For several years, the young Ensor experimented lavishly with etching techniques. In his own words, "Practice makes perfect! Especially for etching. Experience is lacking and requires repeated trials and efforts."  

Ensor soon developed a unique approach to the medium. With predecessors like Rembrandt in mind, Ensor went his own way. His studio became a test lab for experiments where chance sometimes played a role.

Ensor's States of Imagination gathers for the first time the most remarkable results of these experiments: preparatory drawings, copper plates and various states of impressions. We show unique prints on parchment and colored satin. Ensor transforms prints into unique works of art by manually coloring them with colored pencil, chalk or watercolor. In this way, unexpected details emerge, depth is created in large crowds and new figures take shape.

Les Cuisiniers dangereux, James Ensor

At the same time, our museum's 18th-century reading room will zoom in on Ensor and Verhaeren through the mini-exhibition Ensor filleted by the Dangerous Cooks. This mini-exhibition starts from the special Verhaeren collection which - until now - has received little attention. The focus here is Ensor's drawing Les cuisiniers dangereux from this collection.



EXPO | Ensors States of Imagination: from 28 September 2024 to 19 January 2025


Guided tour

A guided tour makes a group visit to the expo even more fun and interesting. The guide tells all sorts of stories and interesting facts about Ensor's graphic process. Book your guide


Workshop: Trial & Ensor

Experiment with the intaglio technique to create your own print just like Ensor did. In the workshop, you will first look at book illustrations, prints and drawings. Afterwards, you get to work with a plexiglass plate, ink and an ancient printing press to make your own dry needle etching. Book your tickets.

This workshop is suitable for groups of adults, with a maximum of 12 persons per group. No prior knowledge required. 

Ensor year

In 2024, it will be 75 years since we said goodbye to James Ensor. With the largest Ensor collection in the world, the avant-garde artist lives on in Antwerp.

From September 2024, several Antwerp museums will highlight the artist's oeuvre with a series of ambitious exhibitions. The focus is on Ensor's enduring relevance through cross-pollination with contemporary art, fashion and photography. A perfect match with the range of assets Antwerp has to offer throughout the year.

Discover Ensor from surprising angles, as an innovator and as a game-changer. Because Ensor is so much more than the painter of masks.


Ensor 2024

Museum Plantin-Moretus

Unesco werelderfgoed

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