M. C. Escher: Infinite Variations
M. C. Escher: Infinite Variations
Closing September 4, 2023
M.C. Escher: Infinite Variations spans the Dutch artist’s entire career with more than 160 works from the private collection of Paul and Belinda Firos of Athens, Greece.
Escher’s fascination with mathematical theory motivated him to produce imagery that constantly challenged notions of reality and its underlying structures. This comprehensive exhibition chronicles his journey as one of the world’s most recognized artists by presenting the full range of media in which he worked. Visitors will see many items which were originally part of the Escher Estate including woodcuts, lithographs, etchings and even a lithography stone. The exhibition displays some of his most iconic pieces including Day and Night, influenced by Moorish designs in Spain. Works like Day and Night featured interlocking forms and transformation on a surreal canvas. Visitors will also see the the fourteen foot long Metamorphosis. There’s also Ascending and Descending, a 1960 print of an impossible building with a staircase that mirrors a möbius strip.
Aside from additional iconic images that made this artist famous, such as Drawing Hands, Waterfall, Eye, and Relativity, the collection features numerous seldom displayed prints including the Griffin of Borghese, Still Life and Street and the entire set of his mezzotints (8 in total), among numerous other works. The collection also includes one of the earliest and extremely rare large format drawings done by the artist.
About M.C. Escher
Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898–1972) was born in Leeuwarden, the capital of Friesland in the Netherlands, but grew up in Arnhem. Although he studied architecture in Haarlem, he was drawn to graphic art by Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita, a teacher at his school who profoundly influenced his graphic style. When Escher moved to Italy, his early output was dominated by advertising and landscape prints there. He became famous for his tessellated, or tile-like, patterns after seeing Moorish tilework on a trip to the Alhambra and Granada, Spain in 1936. The rise of fascism in Italy forced him to leave Italy for Switzerland, and he abandoned Italian imagery in protest. He made his way to Belgium and returned to the Netherlands after the Nazi invasion. He faced five unproductive years during the occupation, unable to sell his work because he refused to certify his “Aryanness” and was horrified that he was unable to save his teacher de Mesquita from Auschwitz. His own family faced deprivation during the final “hunger winter” of the war.
Escher’s increasingly sophisticated imagery gained an appreciative audience, especially during his first exhibition at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum in 1954, staged to coincide with the major Global conference of mathematicians. He remained skeptical of the enthusiasm for his work among fans of psychedelia during the 1960s, turning down a request from Mick Jagger to design an album cover. His body of work eventually grew to over 2,000 items before his death in 1972. However, it was not until Douglas Hofstadter’s 1979 publication of Gödel, Escher, Bach that Escher’s work became tied in the public’s imagination to quantum physics and advanced mathematics, cementing the hold his work gained over the global audience it still enjoys today.
From the private collection of Paul and Belinda Firos of Athens, Greece. This exhibition was provided by PAN Art Connections.
Sponsored in part by Robert and Esther Black Family Foundation, The Clark Foundation, Nellie and Robert Gipson, Joseph and Carol Mahon, Mr. Tom Morgan and Ms. Erna J. Morgan McReynolds, NYCM Insurance, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas O. Putnam, and Richland County Foundation.
Tours are included with museum admission. No registration required.
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