James Ensor was born on 13 April 1860 in Ostend, Belgium. After a few drawing lessons, he enrolled in 1877 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels. In 1880 Ensor rebelled against academicism and returned to live in the family home. Installed in the attic of his house, he began his career as a portrait painter. In 1883, he became one of the founding members of the avant-garde group "Les XX" whose aim is to promote new artistic developments in Europe. He worked with Fernand Khnopff, Theo van Rysselberghe and Paul Signac. The group dissolved in 1893. James Ensor is famous for his macabre carnivals and disturbing scenes mixing masks and skeletons. He died on November 19, 1949 in his native house in Ostend.
James Ensor was a painter belonging to the Symbolist movement, presented as a precursor of expressionists and surrealism. His famous works are "Self-portrait with masks", "Christ's Triumphant entry into Brussels" and "Skeletons Fighting over a Pickled Herring".