Desconocido e influyente, James Ensor – Francisco Buendía Santiago

Desconocido e influyente, James Ensor – Francisco Buendía Santiago

Desconocido e influyente, James Ensor

 

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Si hay un tópico generalizado entre los artistas plásticos -junto con la supuesta vida bohemia de todo pintor o escultor que se precie-, ese es el de creador atormentado por sus visiones y fantasmas; normalmente como consecuencia del desarraigo y una vida poco ordenada o más bien desastrosa, llena de penurias tanto económicas como psicológicas, sociales, familiares y amorosas.

James Ensor, es quizá el personaje que mejor podría encajar en el cliché de artista angustiado, si no hubiera sido una persona burguesa nacida en el seno de una familia acomodada y que nunca perdió la compostura -al menos de manera pública-, ni el deseo manifiesto de reconocimiento social. Sin embargo, la declaración como artista destacado -posiblemente el más grande pintor belga de la era moderna- aunque le llegó en vida, él siempre la consideró como un reconocimiento tardío, cuestión que sin duda le produjo un sentimiento de inestabilidad conceptual que le indujo a profundizar en una idea atribulada de la condición humana a través de su producción pictórica.

A pesar de su influencia en pintores posteriores como Paul Klee o Rik Wouters, y de haber ejercido como puente entre tradición y modernidad a partir del estudio de la obra de Rembrandt, Goya, Pieter Brueghel el Viejo, El Bosco o Moureau; continúa siendo un autor bastante desconocido y, en consecuencia, poco apreciado por el gran público amante de la pintura.

James Ensor nació el trece de abril de 1860 en la ciudad de Ostende, en la que vivió toda su infancia y casi toda la vida. Su familia poseía una tienda de souvenirs y curiosidades, de la cual el pintor recuperaría para su iconografía objetos decorativos de temática oriental y carnavalesca. Hacia 1873 recibió sus primeras lecciones de pintura en la academia local y de los pintores Dubar y Van Kuyck, vecinos de su villa. Entre 1877 y 1880, toma clases en los cursos de la Academia de Bellas Artes de Bruselas y de vuelta a Ostende, realizará sus primeras obras íntimas y trascendentales.

La comercialización de la pintura al óleo en tubo, iniciada por la industria a mediados del siglo XIX y el progreso de la red ferroviaria, propiciaron el desarrollo del impresionismo y el contacto directo de la pintura con la naturaleza. Este afán de captar el entorno desde la inmediatez del apunte al aire libre envolvió al joven Ensor en sus comienzos. Sin embargo, hay que entender esta tendencia como un concepto artístico más que como una práctica estricta, ya que los pintores de la época -Ensor incluido- nunca abandonaron la preferencia de terminar los trabajos de campo en la distancia reflexiva del taller.

Valor destacable de Ensor en el contexto de la época, es la recuperación del bodegón como tema, que había caído en desgracia, siendo considerado un género menor durante el siglo XIX. Las naturalezas muertas, marinas y retratos de su período más impresionista, contienen innegables destellos expresionistas que recuerdan a las abstractas acuarelas de William Turner.

A finales de 1885 comienza a realizar grabados, de los cuales, casi la mitad de los más de cien que efectuó son paisajes: diferentes vistas del puerto de Ostende y panoramas urbanos llenos de sensualidad y misterio; características poco habituales en este tipo de temática. Otros están inspirados en temas cotidianos como Los baños en Ostende, donde se aprecia el propósito vitalista bajo un tono satírico acerca de las cuestiones sociales. En general, muestra al pueblo como un rebaño zafio y carente de ideas propias, marchando irresistente hacia una muerte sin sentido.

 

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James Ensor – Les bains à Ostende [1890] – Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent

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La mayoría de los grabados son dibujos de factura delicadísima que denotan una sensibilidad extrema, en contraste con los monstruos, fantasmas y personajes grotescos que los pueblan. Las estampas realizadas sobre papel japonés responden a tiradas cortas o incluso a impresiones únicas a pesar de la técnica empleada.

El enorme interés que tuvo Ensor hacia la pintura española, le llevó a realizar estudios realistas de caballeros conocidos como “Don Quijote”. La evolución posterior hacia un mundo particular y simbolista, los biógrafos la relacionan estrechamente con la serie de grabados de Francisco de Goya Los Disparates. Las similitudes entre la obra del maestro aragonés y Ensor son constantes, ya que ambos señalan en sus composiciones las diversas formas que adoptan el terror, la perversión, los demonios y otras situaciones extrañas o ridículas.

En una carta de James Ensor a su amigo Darío de Regoyos, con motivo de una visita al museo de Lille y acerca de las pinturas que admiró sorprendido, escribe: “jamás había visto personajes más horribles, me han impresionado mucho. (…) el fondo está pintado como un Manet. También de Goya, El garrote: un hombre estrangulado, solo en un cadalso y haciendo una mueca terrible ante una muchedumbre, al fondo un cielo siniestro, negro, lleno de tempestad.”

La simpatía por la cultura española del pintor belga ha revertido tiempo después en la producción artística de nuestro país si miramos con detenimiento los temas, y nos paramos a contrastar los personajes y elementos compositivos que aparecen en las imágenes de creadores como Solana o Saura.

José Gutiérrez Solana (1886-1945), pintor y escritor costumbrista, retrata con trazo firme una visión bárbara y abismal, de una España convertida en metáfora de lo irremediable; de la imposible modernización de un país ofuscado e inmerso en sus tradiciones. Existen grandes similitudes en diversos cuadros, que no pueden ser solamente una casualidad, como por ejemplo entre el grabado Los malos médicos de Ensor y el óleo de Solana La máscara y los doctores. Al mismo tiempo coinciden plenamente en los temas frecuentados del esqueleto y la máscara, y en la teatralidad de las escenas plasmadas. Sin embargo, hay que anotar una diferencia esencial entre la obra de estos autores: mientras que para Ensor la máscara y el esqueleto son alegorías fantasmagóricas que pueblan sus visiones particulares; para Solana en cambio muestran el mundo real, serio y tranquilo, la vida en su sentido más adecuado.

Con Antonio Saura (1930-1998) se perpetúa la tradición española de la pintura tenebrista, en el camino generado, entre otros, por Valdés Leal, Goya, Darío de Regoyos y Solana. Saura es probablemente el último eslabón de la cadena con sus multitudes y retratos imaginarios. En las contemporáneas máscaras de los autorretratos, incorpora inseparables todas las imágenes de Goya, Ensor y Munch de manera simultánea, llegando hasta nuestros días con una frescura exultante. A modo de anécdota, señalaré que el personaje cabezón que aparece en la parte inferior izquierda del grabado de Ensor El cortejo infernal, bien pudiera ser el primer autorretrato de un futuro Saura.

Después de 1886, la obra de Ensor se modifica de manera ostensible. La disposición de los elementos estructurales en sus cuadros pasa a ser más compleja, abigarrándose de personajes y objetos. En las composiciones aparecen de forma reiterada sus temas recurrentes, -la máscara y el esqueleto- predominando una disposición frontal del espacio, que remite sin duda al teatro. Los disfraces y seres extraños son los protagonistas absolutos del escenario en el que se representan alegóricamente las vicisitudes humanas, donde la perspectiva es prácticamente inexistente. La luz pasa a ser el tema central y definitivo. Obras célebres de esta época son La entrada de Cristo en Bruselas, Máscaras que amenazan a la Muerte o Máscaras y crustáceos. En este tiempo escribe: “Afortunadamente me he vuelto a sumergir en el mundo solitario donde reina la máscara, violenta y magnífica.”

 

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Francisco Buendía Santiago

 

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Mujer clónica [Serigrafía]- Francisco Buendía Santiago, 2009

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Autor
Categories: Ut Pictura Poesis

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