A certain sense of duality emanates from this vibrant still life and illustrates Ensor’s constantly oscillating preoccupations between tradition and fantasy. Despite his academic education at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, Ensor’s unconventionality had always led him to favour less traditional subject-matter. The sea creatures, dancers and angels that float joyfully across the background within the present work underline Ensor’s life-long fascination with Symbolism, and endow Coquilles forms rebondies with a fantastical and magical atmosphere. Coquilles forms rebondies was a gift from the artist to Ernestine Mollet, the companion of Ensor’s loyal housekeeper Auguste van Yper (to whom the previous lot, Les Bons livres, was gifted).
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