Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    James Ensor. Autograph Letter Signed. "J. Ensor." Two pages in French, with canceled postal cover, 8.25" x 10.5", Ostend; January 23, 1928. Addressed to the French author Henri Sérouya, Ensor writes [English translation], "My impressions on art in 1880. The vision changes. The ongoing research changes the primitive vision. Reason is the enemy of art. Artists dominated by reason lose all emotion. A powerful instinct weakens. Inspiration runs dry. The heart loses impetus. At the end of reason's string hangs enormous nonsense or the nose of a pawn. All the canons of art vomit death just like those with bronze muzzles. The bare-minimum braggarts call the final death grenouillère."

    In the letter, Ensor mentions sending photos to Serouya of his paintings: 1) Portrait du peintre W. Finch, 1876, 2) La mort et les masques, 1897, 3) Nature morte, 1899, as well as two additional photos, Portrait de James Ensor et James Ensor chez lui and L'entrée du Christ à Bruxelles. He gives him permission to reproduce these items in publication.

    [Together with:]

    Henri Sérouya. Autograph Letter Signed. "H. Serouya." One page in French, 5.25" x 8.25", St. Tropez; August 19, 1966. Addressed "Cher Monsieur" to an unknown recipient, Sérouya writes [English translation], "I received your letter which came as a surprise since I had not received a reply to my letter from many months ago. I am returning to Paris on September 4 and will surely be very busy the first fortnight I am back but you can always call me starting at 9am. I would be happy to see you. The autographs are in the vault at the bank. If you truly wish to buy them I will work out a way to show them to you. I have many that ["come from"?] philosophers [illegible]."

    James Sidney Edouard, Baron Ensor (1860-1949) was a Belgian painter and printmaker, an important influence on expressionism and surrealism who lived in Ostend for almost his entire life. He was associated with the artistic group Les XX.
    Henri Sérouya (1895-1968), born in Jerusalem to a family of Turkish origin, moved to Paris where he was naturalized French in 1931. Initially specializing in aesthetics, political philosophy and existentialism, he achieved recognition with his volume on the Kabbalah, to which he devoted himself after studying Bergson's philosophy and his interpretation of mysticism.
    Condition: Ensor letter is a bit toned, some rubbing, with vertical and horizontal folds; otherwise good. Serouya letter shows some edge wear, and a few short tears (not affecting text), one horizontal fold and some light wrinkling; overall good.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2019
    4th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 409

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 October 21 Manuscripts Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions and Mr. Chad Reingold were...professional and courteous in all transactions and provided outstanding service in answering my many emails. I recommend them at the highest level.
    Killy M.,
    Melbourne Beach, FL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search