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50 years of ‘De Grafische’

A large exhibition was held in the Stedelijk Museum in February 1962 to celebrate the 50th jubilee of De Grafische, the association for the promotion of graphic arts. Naturally, Escher participated, as did his friend Gerd Arntz, and many other fellow graphic artists. It was not exactly the first time that graphic artists were exhibiting together and under the name of their association, but they had never done it so lavishly as they did for the jubilee exhibition. Under the title ‘Print’, 300 works were displayed at the Stedelijk Museum. Graphic work of all types, drawing on the most diverse styles, methods and opinions. A separate room was set up to devote attention to the history of graphic arts and provide an explanation of graphic techniques. The exhibition also saw the debut of the documentary De Zwarte Tampon (The Black Tampon), made by graphic artist (in this case scriptwriter and director) Harry van Kruiningen and photographer (here he did camera and editing) Ulkoja.

Dutch newspaper 'De Waarheid', 9 February 1962
Dutch newspaper 'Trouw', 15 February 1962

To many artists, De Grafische meant a lot in the course of its existence, because the association enabled members to exhibit and sell their work. Exhibitions held by the association stood for quality, a seal of approval for the general public, who were thus assured of getting to know all the developments in the graphic field. The participating artists could also view and discuss each other’s works. About 200 graphic artists held membership of De Grafische in the 20th century.

Exhibition catalogue

At the jubilee exhibition, M.C. Escher exhibited such pieces as his wood engravings Möbius Strip I and Depth.

M.C. Escher, Möbius Strip I, wood engraving and woodcut in red, green, gold and black, printed from four blocks, March 1961
M.C. Escher, Depth, wood engraving and woodcut in brown-grey, grey-green and dark brown, printed from three blocks, October 1955

Here are a number of works by artists who were represented at the jubilee exhibition, giving a good impression of its diversity.

Engelien Reitsma-Valença (1889-1981), ex-libris, etching, 1946
Kuno Brinks (1908-1992), Mauresque, copper engraving, 1940
Pam Rueter (1906-1998), ex-libris, wood engraving, 1958
Wim Beuning (1914-1986), Theorem of Verwey, lithograph, 1941. Collection: Frans Hals museum
Emile Puettmann (1921-1987), New Year's greeting card, lithograph, 1960
Jan Bezemer (1907-1997), Circus, lithograph, 1954
Fred Koot (1927 - 2000), Duck on eggs, lithograph, 1955
Cor de Wolff, Fishes, color woodcut 1958
Cor Basart, Seated woman, color woodcut, 1961
Wim Motz (1900-1977), untitled, lithograph, 1961

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