James Ensor was born and lived in Ostend, Belgium. Ensor was a painter, printmaker, and draftsman. James Ensor began his artistic career as a portrait painter. Ensor founded and lead the avant-garde group Les XX (the Twenty), whose goal was to promote new artistic developments throughout Europe. Fraught with differences in opinion and slated by art critics Les XX disbanded after a decade.
After the turn of the century, Ensor was knighted and given the title of Baron. In 1908 Ensor published his autobiography which confirmed his standing and reputation. Ensor later diversified, writing music and designing sets for ballets, and continued to paint until his death at eighty-nine.