Bataille des Eperons dOr (Battle of the Golden Spurs)

James Ensor (1860-1949),Bataille des Eperons dOr (Battle of the Golden Spurs), etching, 1895, signed, dated and titled in pencil. On laid paper with a Honig watermark, with margins. References: Delteil 95, Elesh 98, only state. 7 x 9 5/8, the sheet 9 1/4 x 12 3/4 inches.

Provenance: Mira Jacob Wolfovska (1912-2004), Paris, with her blindstamp (Lugt 4576; Jacob was a renowned figure in the Parisian art world; her gallery was Le Bateau Lavoir). Her sale of Ensor prints was the subject of a special sale at Christie’s London, March 2014; this featured a nearly complete collection of Ensor prints, including many extremely fine examples such as the Bataille des Eperons.

An extremely fine impression, black ink on a cream paper, with plate tone slightly accentuated toward the bottom of the sheet and away from the sky.

The story of the Battle of the Golden Spurs relates how, in 1302, the over-confident French nobility was defeated by Flemish peasant soldiers. In 1890 Ensor made a satirical drawing of the battle titled Le Souper des Veterans (The Veterans Supper). In the etching, although the French are making a massive frontal attack, they appear in large part to be enduring a counter-attack in the rear.