Continued from M.C. Escher Museum- Early Works
This post expands on Eschers later work, and the exhibition display at the Escher in Het Paleis, The Hague.
In February 1924, Escher held his first Dutch exhibition at the Sunflower Gallery in The Hague. His work was extolled in Elsevier’s Monthly of June 1924. Escher began his first lithograph on July 14 1926 when he and his wife were visiting Escher’s parents in The Hague, after which he took the stone back with him to Rome to continue work on it.
In the coming years, he exhibited regularly in Italy and the Netherlands, including at Pulchri in The Hague, in Amsterdam, Leeuwarden and Utrecht. But also in Rome, and in 1934 a print of an Italian landscape even won third prize at the “Exposition of contemporary Prints” at the Chicago Art Institute.
From Rome, the family left on the 4th of July for Switzerland. Arthur had been diagnosed with tuberculosis. Initially they chose Switzerland but in 1937 the family moved to Ukkel near Brussels. Finally they settled in Baarn in 1941. In 1955, Escher would move house once again within Baan. He went to live in the Rosa Spier nursing home in Laren (North Holland) in 1970.
In his Italian period (1924-1935), Escher mainly produced prints that were close to reality. These works consisted of drawings that he made in the countryside. The drawings were later turned into prints on his worktable. It was here that reality was changed into art and here that the difference between reality and realistic art came about. Each work of realistic art is an artist’s vision of part of reality. The work of art became his reality that had no one-to-one correspondence with the reality of the location.
In the works Escher produced after 1935, the connection between direct perception and the work of art is distinctly lost. The constructions Escher creates, such as Belvedere, Drawing Hands and the Waterfall, can exist within art but not in reality. Although the works make sense in the details, Escher was able to connect these various details with each other in a subtle way so that an impossible reality ultimately arises.
From remarks by Escher, it appears that his perception of nature in Italy – the true reality – and his way of looking at it for his later works were not as far apart as is generally assumed. Escher says in 1963: “The element of enigma which he (M.C.E.) wishes to focus attention on must be enveloped, be veiled by a commonplace, familiar to everyone, everyday self-evidence. This true to nature, plausible environment to any superficial observer is essential to bring about the desired shock”. (From “The Impossible”, a lecture held on 5 November 1963)
From his vision, Escher uses stylistic elements that he was already investigating in Italy, such as the double perspective line, tessellation and a single reflection. His later works add Metamorphosis, which can also be viewed as a derivation of tessellation, the idea of eternal motion or cycle and Escher’s quest for a representation of infinity. Thus the other world of M.C. Escher in which impossible things have apparently become possible gradually emerges
In 1951, the American professional magazine The Studio wrote about his work. Then the two international general interest magazines Time and Life covered Escher’s work. This created great interest in America. Escher received requests for new prints, Day and Night was particularly loved. Escher later complained that he had to print more than 600 copies of it. In 1961, E.H. Gombrich wrote about Escher’s work in the Saturday Evening Post.
Escher also now had exhibitions at the Stedelijk modern art museum in Amsterdam (as part of an international Mathematics Conference) and in America and Great Britain. Finally, in 1968 at the Council of The Hague Museum, Escher’s first retrospective exhibition was held in honour of his 70th birthday. In 1955, M.C. Escher was knighted, in 1965 he was awarded the Culture Award of the city of Hilversum and in 1967 he received a royal honour.
Since his earliest youth, M.C. Escher’s health had not been good. In his later years, he underwent two serious operations in hospital. In 1969, Escher produced his final woodcut: Snakes. After this he continued to print older works, but did not create any more new ones.
M.C. Escher died on March 27, 1972 in the Diakonessehuis hospital in Hilversum
Text above from Escher in Het Paleis website.
The Exihibition Display at the museum
In Escher in Het Paleis, almost all of the works of the world-famous Dutch artist M.C. Escher (1898-1972) are on display. Highlight of the visit and crown on the exhibition is the 7 meters long Metamorphosis III. This enormous woodcut and the non-conventional way of displaying it let’s the visitor actually experience Escher combining time and space as an organic unity.
The interior setting of the palace contrasts with Eschers work, and highlights the structure inherent in his prints and persectives of space.
Interaction games and distorted persective photographs for visitors to indulge in at the end of the exhibition.