Ostend, Ensor's imaginary paradise


Venetiaanse Gaanderijen
Oostende 8400
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Sat 29 Jun 2024 to Sun 27 Oct 2024

Discover the unique connection between James Ensor and his birthplace Ostend in the surprising exhibition 'Ostend, Ensor's imaginary paradise' at the Venetian Galleries. As Ostend developed as a tourist and cultural destination to become the Queen of seaside towns, Ensor developed his artistic skills and vision there. His work is infused with mysterious and idyllic depictions of the sea, dunes and polders that surround him. Here, Ensor prefers atmosphere and creative freedom to factual accuracy: remarkably, he paints many of the views in and around Ostend in mirror image.

Not only his art but also his life is intertwined with the city of Ostend. He takes an active role in local artistic circles there, including the Cercle Artistique and the Compagnie du Rat Mort. When his 'imaginary paradise' is threatened, the activist in Ensor awakens. He stands up for the beauty of his city and tries to prevent the demolition of iconic landmarks.