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ESCHER

M. C. Escher
(1898-1972)

"After Escher had said goodbye to the south [in 1936], his work took a direction that was eventually to lead to his becoming famous. From now on he was no longer concerned with expressing his observations - or only rarely - but rather with the construction of the images in his own mind. These images dealt with the regular division of the plane, limitless space, rings and spirals in space, mirror images, inversion, polyhedrons,relativities, the conflict between the flat and the spatial, and impossible constructions. Even in his Haarlem period, and occasionally during his years in Italy, he had made hesitant moves in this direction, but only now did they take shape systematically and start to absorb him. He had the feeling that until then he had merely been doing finger exercises.

"The laws that were to fascinate Escher most until his death were those of the regular division of the plane. He had experimented with them already in Haarlem. It was then, in October 1922, that he had visited the Alhambra for the first time. 'The fitting together of congruent figures whose shapes evoke in the observer an association with an object or a living creature intrigued me increasingly after that first Spanish visit in 1922,' Escher wrote in 1941, in an article in De Delver, an art periodical. 'And although at the time I was mainly interested in free graphic art, I periodically returned to the mental gymnastics of my puzzles. In about 1924 1 first printed a piece of fabric with a wood block of a single animal motif which is repeated according to a particular system, always bearing in mind the principle that there may not be any "empty spaces".. . . I exhibited this piece of printed fabric together with my other work, but it was not successful. This is partly the reason why it was not until 1936, after I had visited the Alhambra a second time, that I spent a large part of my time puzzling with animal shapes.'

"Escher's development in this direction after 1936 can be attributed not only to this second visit to the Alhambra, but also to his departure from Italy. In 1959 he wrote about this (in the introduction to The Graphic Work): 'In Switzerland, Belgium and Holland where I successively established myself, I found the outward appearance of landscape and architecture less striking than those which are particularly to be seen in the southern part of Italy. Thus I felt compelled to withdraw from the more or less direct and true to life illustrating of my surroundings. No doubt this circumstance was in a high degree responsible for bringing my inner visions into being.' In the same introduction, Escher wrote about his prints dating from after 1936 that they were created 'with a view to communicating a specific line of thought. The ideas that are basic to them often bear witness to my amazement and wonder at the laws of nature which operate in the world around us. He who wonders discovers that this is in itself a wonder. By keenly confronting the enigmas that surround us, and by considering and analyzing the observations that I had made, I ended up in the domain of mathematics. Although I am absolutely without training or knowledge in the exact sciences, I often seem to have more in common with mathematicians than with my fellow-artists.'"

- From "M.C. Escher, His Life and Complete Graphic Work"

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Waterfall 1961 Lithograph 38 x 30 cm (15 x 11 3/4 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Up and Down 1947 Lithograph 50.3 x 20.5 cm (19 3/4 x 8 1/8 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Sun and Moon 1948 Woodcut printed from four blocks 25.1 x 27 cm (9 7/8 x 10 5/8 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Sky and Water II 1938 Woodcut 62.3 x 40.7 cm (24 1/2 x 16 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Reptiles 1943 Lithograph 33.4 x 38.5 cm (13 1/8 x 15 1/8 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Relativity 1953 Woodcut 28.2 x 29.4 cm (11 1/8 x 11 5/8 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Moebius Strip II (Red Ants) 1963 Woodcut printed from three blocks 45.3 x 20.5 cm (17 7/8 x 8 1/8 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Puddle 1952 Woodcut in three colors 24 x 31.9 cm (9 1/2 x 12 1/2 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Still Life with Mirror 1934 Lithograph 39.4 x 28.7 cm (15 1/2 x 11 1/4 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Hell (copy after a scene by Hieronymous Bosch) 1935 Lithograph 25.1 x 21.4 cm (9 7/8 x 8 3/8 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Drawing Hands 1948 Lithograph 28.2 x 33.2 cm (11 1/8 x 13 1/8 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Print Gallery 1956 Lithograph 31.9 x 31.7 cm (12 1/2 x 12 1/2 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Fish c. 1942 Woodcut on textile

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Eye 1946 Mezzotint Third state (upper left) Fourth state (lower left) Sixth state (upper right) Seventh and final state (lower right) 31.9 x 31.7 cm (12 1/2 x 12 1/2 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Diploma Tijdelijke Academie 1945 Woodcut, fourth state 34.2 x 24 cm (13 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Day and Night 1938 Woodcut in black and gray, printed from two blocks 39.1 x 67.7 cm (15 3/8 x 26 5/8 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Castrovalva (Abruzzi) 1930 Lithograph 53 x 42.1 cm (20 7/8 x 16 5/8 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Bond of Union 1956 Lithograph 25.3 x 33.9 cm (10 x 13 3/8 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Belvedere 1958 Lithograph 46.2 x 29.5 cm (18 1/4 x 11 5/8 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Ascending and Descending 1960 Lithograph 35.5 x 28.5 cm (14 x 11 1/4 in.)

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Escher, Maurits Cornelis Three Worlds 1955 Lithograph 36.2 x 24.7 cm (14 1/4 x 9 3/4 in.)