Judith Kadee is curator Escher at Escher in The Palace and Kunstmuseum Den Haag. She is doing research on M.C. Escher and she makes exhibitions about the work and life of the world-famous artist. Judith obtained her Masters in Museum Studies at UCL in London. She previously worked as the director of museum Villa Mondriaan, where she was the youngest museum director of the Netherlands.
To create confusion. That was what God had in mind when he made the people who were building a tower to heaven all speak different languages. In no time at all, it was chaos, and the construction was stopped immediately. For if you can no longer talk to each other, how can you continue to build together at such a height?
The final print in Graphic Grandeur: Escher and his Contemporaries is an ode not to Escher, but to the first royal resident of this palace: Queen Emma, the Queen Mother. In this 1897 lithograph by Jan Toorop (1858-1928) we see Emma and her daughter Wilhelmina on a visit to Gouda. The print features all kinds of objects associated with industry in Gouda at the time, such as pipes and candles. The litho is made in Toorop’s distinctive Art Nouveau style, recognisable by its strong contours with graceful lines and exuberant decorative elements. This style was also popularly called the Salad Oil Style, in response to the iconic decorative poster that Toorop made for the Nederlandsche Oliefabriek (Dutch Oil Factory) in Delft.
Memento mori: this old Latin phrase reminds people that we will all die some day. This saying is the gloomy subject of the simple yet direct woodcut of Julie de Graag (1877-1924). De Graag was a talented graphic artist and her work was highly stylised. Influenced by sculptor Joseph Mendes da Costa and De Stijl’s Bart van der Leck, she increasingly omitted details, as her linework grew simpler and more direct.
The tradition of portraiture goes back centuries. An entire room is devoted to this subject in the exhibition Graphic Grandeur: Escher and his Contemporaries. You are not the only one looking here in this gallery. Lots of eyes are looking back at you, too: from Beethoven to a stylised dog, and from Escher’s wife Jetta to a Dutch General with one eye. As soon as the exhibition opens to the public (hopefully as soon as possible!), you can look and be seen here.
The exhibition ‘Glorious Glass: Optical glass art from the Czech Republic and Slovakia’ was supposed to be on display at Escher in The Palace until 8 November. Unfortunately, events have overtaken us. Due to the developments surrounding Covid-19, the museum will be closing for at least two weeks from 5 November. Thus putting an abrupt end to the Glorious Glass exhibition. For those keen to reminisce about the exhibition or for those who missed out, our curator Judith Kadee has written an interesting article about the unique collection of optical glass featured in the exhibition.
Last Thursday the new exhibition David Umemoto: Architect of the Impossible opened in Escher in The Palace. David Umemoto is a Canadian sculptor with a background in architecture. His mysterious sculptures of impossible buildings are exhibited side by side with the work of M.C. Escher until 9 February 2020. The printmaker has been an inspiration throughout Umemoto’s career.
Last week a display case was revealed at Escher in The Palace, containing a unique bequest. It was given to us by Mr and Mrs Hoogendijk-Floor. They purchased several works by M.C. Escher over the years, and these were recently bequeathed to Escher in The Palace. The works they owned include a vignette featuring fish and the accompanying woodblock. Very few of Escher's woodblocks are extant and intact, and most of them are privately owned. Hence this gift is invaluable to the museum.
Getting lost in the world of M.C. Escher. Don’t we all want that every now and then? A few months ago I saw the latest picture book by Wouter van Reek for the first time. For this book, the illustrator and picture book creator has been inspired by none other…