Bart Devolder, assistant conservator of paintings at the Kimbell Art Museum, will present “James Ensor: The Painter behind the Masks” as part of the Museum’s “Art in Context” series, on Wednesday, October 7, 2009, at 12:30 p.m. in the Darnell Street auditorium, across Van Cliburn Way from the Museum.
Although much of Ensor’s early work created great controversy, in his mature years he achieved huge acclaim for his paintings featuring colorful and disturbing masks and skeletons. Devolder will focus on the Kimbell’s Ensor painting Skeletons Warming Themselves, placing it within the social and political context of late 19th-century Belgium, and will discuss the artist’s painting technique. The Kimbell’s painting was included in the recent Ensor retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and also is the subject of one of Philip Haas’s film installations currently on view at the Kimbell.
Devolder held internships at the Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Museés de France, Musée du Louvre, Paris; the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at Harvard Art Museum; and other notable institutions. Before joining the Kimbell in 2007, he was the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Painting Conservation at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.