Roman Victory – Triomphe Romain 1889

James Ensor (1860-1949), Roman Victory, etching and drypoint, 1889, signed, dated and titled in pencil, countersigned in pencil verso [also signed in the plate]. References: Delteil 78, Croquez 78, Taevernier 78, Elesh 78, second state (of 2). In good condition (remains of prior hinging bottom margin recto, slight mat toning not affecting image), with margins, 6 11/16 x 9 1/16, the sheet 10 3/4 x 12 3/4 inches.

A fine impression, printed in black ink on a cream wove paper, with plate tone.

In the second state Ensor added a crowd of viewers and marchers lower left in drypoint,  populated the fields in the background with a myriad of tiny marchers (including a troop on horseback and four tiny elephants), and finished the stormy sky.

The tiny windmill at the extreme right border indicates that this scene depicts Julius Caesar’s invasion and victory over Gaul in 57 B.C.  Many late 19th Century artists were captivated by ancient Roman or Greek historical events; Ensor was not one of them – he regarded this obsession with disdain – and Roman Victory is one of his very rare explorations in this realm.