Exterminating Angel (LAnge Exterminateur)

James Ensor (1860-1949), Exterminating Angel (LAnge Exterminateur), etching with drypoint, 1889, signed and dated in pencil lower right, also titled and countersigned verso. References: Delteil 77, Croquez 77, Elesh 77, Taevernier 77; second (final) state. In very good condition, on a tan Japan paper with wide margins. 4 3/4 x 6 1/4, the sheet 9 5/8 x 11 15/16 inches.

A fine impression printed in a grey/black ink, with substantial plate tone.

Only a few impressions of a first state of this print are known; one definitively identified in 2002 published in the catalogue on Ensor prints presented for sale by CG Boerner.

Gillis and Florizoone in the CG Boerner catalogue note that this print combines a Catholic element, the destroying angel of the apocalypse with the Flemish proverb to go in ones pants from fear. In his catalogue of the graphic works of Ensor, Albert Croquez made the link between this work and the painting [and print] by Henri Rousseau titled La Guerre. It is not very likely that the painting influenced Ensor, but it is possible that both artists were inspired by the same source, namely the parody of Le Tsar, published in the French magazine LEgalite on October 6, 1889.