James Ensor was born April 13th 1860 in Ostend, Belgium. He attended the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Belgium and became known for his expressionism and surrealism. James Ensor was also a major figure in the Belgian avant-garde. Considered one of the leaders of Les XX (The Twenty) founded in 1883, a group of 20 painters and sculptures who would meet once a year to promote their work internationally. Other well known artists who also joined the group include Camille Pissarro, Georges Seurat, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet, and Vincent Van Gogh.
In the late 1880’s James Ensor’s focus shifted to religious paintings and many were highly criticized which is typical of most avant-garde art. Critically acclaimed ‘The entry of Christ into Brussels’ he released in 1889, providing him with the most recognition. His work eventually became more softened and subdued in his later years when he was not painting as often.