Thursday, 22 March 2018

Engraved portrait of James Ensor is by his friend Sonderegger

Galerie Moderne, from Belgium, sells on 27 March 2018 an engraved portrait of James Ensor, estimated at 50 to 100 Euro.

They weren't able to decipher the signature (both in the engraving, and in pencil beneath it), but some research has revealed the name of the artist.

Jacques-Ernst Sonderegger (1882-1956) was a Swiss artist, a friend of James Ensor and of Paul Klee, and he introduced the work of the former to the latter. His work is not well-known and often sells relatively cheap, but he remains an important figure in the developing Swiss avant-garde from the 1910s.

This work, an engraving printed on cloth (linen?), seems to be relatively unknown, as I couldn't find any reference to it online. It is dated to 1916 (I think, hard to decipher) and shows James Ensor as (and with) "Le Phare", the guiding light.

It is hard to know how many copies of this work exist, probably very, very few. As a work by Sonderegger, it isn't worth particularly much. As a portrait of James Ensor, made by a friend / artist who is an important element in the influence Ensor had on other, later European art, it should be worth clearly more than the 50 Euro it is estimated at, probably closer to 300 Euro, but if enough Ensor lovers want it, who knows?

UPDATE: sold for 250 Euro, five times the estimate, but still a good buy for any Ensor-lover.

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