Waves Sharon James Ensor

  • Issue : May 1999
  • Designers: The Belgium Philatelic Service Designers
  • Stamp Size: 38.15 mm x 48.75 mm
  • Plate nos.: 363
  • Sheet of 15 stamps, Tabs: 5
  • Printers: La Post, Belgium Post
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

The joint issue of the stamp expresses the bond of friendship that exists between Belgium and Israel.

Symbolizing the relationship between the two countries in Israel, amongst others, are the Belgium House at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the JNF forests of Belgium Park (at Neve Ilan) and the Kings of Belgium Forest (at Kfar Hahoresh).

Small groups of Jews were already living in Belgium during the 13th century. Following the banishment of the Jews from Spain during the 15th century, many Sephardim, including many Converses, reached Belgium.

The French revolution considerably improved attitudes towards Jews, allowing greater social acceptance. As a result, immigration of Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews increased towards the end of the 18th century, with the newcomers settling in Brussels and Antwerp.

Jewish immigration to Belgium increased during the 19th and 20th centuries; many Jews seeking to flee Eastern Europe were attracted to the developing diamond industry in Antwerp.

During the Second World War, Queen Elizabeth of Belgium and many Belgian "Righteous Among the Nations" provided substantial assistance to the Jewish community in Belgium. Belgium was included in the countries who, in 1947, voted at the United Nations in favor of establishing a Jewish state.

Based on the book "Jewish Communities in the World" Institute of the World Jewish Congress, 1998-1999

James Ensor (1860-1949)

The stamp bears the portrait of James Ensor, a detail from Ensor's painting My Favorite Room, 1892, from the collection of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The entire painting appears on the First Day Cover. (Oil on canvas 99.7X80 cm; gift of Oscar and Shulamit Fischer's children, 1947).

The Belgian artist, James Ensor, was deeply rooted in his country and its artistic tradition. Ensor's work is noted for its important role in the development of modern art.

My Favorite Room depicts a room in the Ensor family home; in addition to the Ensor portrait (originally painted by Belgian painter Isidore Verheyden in 1886, and documented here by Ensor as hanging in a prominent place on the wall), nine additional paintings by Ensor himself are documented in a similar way.

To this day, the majority of Ensor's works have remained in Belgium. A collection of his works, including 14 oils and 3 drawings, was donated to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art by two Jewish Belgian art collectors, Maurice Lewin and Oscar Fischer. Lewin and Fischer were acquainted with Meir Dizengoff, first mayor of the city of Tel Aviv, prior to the founding of the Museum. Both played an active role in the Jewish community in Antwerp to facilitate the foundation of the Museum. They were personally acquainted with Ensor, and Ensor, who most likely heard from them of the founding of a Museum in Tel Aviv, sent in the 1930's a copy of the special issue of the French magazine La Plume with an inscription dedicated to the Museum.

Based on the James Ensor Exhibition Catalog Tel Aviv Museum, 1981

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Joint Stamp Issue Israel-Belgium - The Artist James Ensor