Published: June 6, 2016
VIENNA, AUSTRIA — A James Ensor painting, “Bapteme de masques,” achieved $1.14 at Dorotheum’s modern art auction May 31 at the Palais Dorotheum Wein.
The newly discovered oil on canvas, circa 1925–1930, came out of a private European collection and depicts a playful masquerade of sorts. The carnivalesque group portrait was inspired by a photograph. It depicts the artist posing amid his masked friends, sporting a military busby. The price represents a top result for a late work by the artist and sold well above its estimate.
The artist had painted an earlier version of this scene around 1891 and two later versions, one of which is dated 1937.
According to the catalog, the painting blends all the principles of Ensor’s art: light that intensifies the mother-of-pearl colors, a desire for modernity, masks that confuse reality and his self-portrait as a marionette in a masquerade.
For more information, www.dorotheum.com or +43-1-515 60-0.
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