Le jardin de la famille Rousseau (1885)

Ensor, James (1860-1949)

Le jardin de la famille Rousseau (The Garden of the Rousseau Family)
Oil on fabric, 75.5 x 61 cm
Cleveland Museum of ArtCleveland

James Ensor painted in a wide variety of styles and techniques, his subjects varying from realistic landscapes like this one to fantastical imagined scenes from literature and theater. The sea in his hometown of Ostend, Belgium, was also a favorite subject. This painting depicts the garden of the artist’s close friends Ernest and Mariette Rousseau. The artist, James Ensor, often stayed with the Rousseau family at their home in Brussels. He rendered this view of their garden in an Impressionist technique of bold color applied with strong, broken brushstrokes. Ensor worked mostly from memory and imagination. It is not known whether he painted this work from life or memory, but the empty garden hints at feelings of social alienation. (CMA)