Like an intriguing jewel on an ink-black background, the shells from this wood engraving illuminate the immense dark space behind it. Concentric Rinds is one of Escher's most ingenious but also most mysterious works.
Philippe Druillet, born on 28 June 1944, is known for his baroque drawings and bizarre science fiction stories. After having worked as a photographer for several years, Druillet made his debut in comics in 1966 with 'Lone Sloane, le Mystère des Abîmes', a comic book that drew inspiration from Druillet's favorite writers H.P. Lovecraft en A.E. van Vogt. Later, Druillet would design several covers for re-issues of Lovecraft's work, and a number of filmposters.
'If I didn't have Tolkien! The lonely evenings are the most difficult for my patience. But he helps me through them with his fantastic world of Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves and good wizards, contrasted by the most horrible, diabolical monsters.'
This ode by Escher to the British writer and academic John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973), who became world famous for his fantasy cycle The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the posthumously published The Silmarillion, was written in a letter to son George dating 29 June 1962. His son Arthur had treated him to The Hobbit earlier that year, a book in which he read fanatically during his forced bedriddenness.
In June 1932, Escher was commissioned by the Dutch Historical Institute in Rome. The institute wanted to pay attention to a church whose visibility was threatened by the emerging new building sites in the capital. In the lithograph that Escher made of this San Michele dei Frisoni (the Frisian church), he allows himself a considerable amount of freedom. He does not depict the current (built in 1141) but the first version of the church. The original was destroyed by the Normans in 1084 during the Investiture Controversy. This controversy is known as the conflict between the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire Henry IV and the then pope Gregory VII.
Last week a display case was revealed at Escher in Het Paleis, 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 Het Paleis. 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.
Escher was a walker and an observer. Luckily, these two pursuits can be combined perfectly. In his Italian years, he went on a long hike every spring through areas such as the Abruzzo and Calabria, which were still quite inhospitable. While doing so, he looked around in awe and wondered about the beautiful nature and the idiosyncratic landscape that he found there. As an observer he had an eye for the micro as well as the macro world. He could look at a plant or an insect with just as much admiration as a mountain or a coastline. After he moved to Baarn in 1941, he continued to walk and observe fanatically. He spent many hours wandering through the woods around his home, with just as much attention for typical Dutch nature as for the Italian.
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…
In May 1971, Escher made his final tessellation, a drawing in India ink and watercolor of a figure that he himself called his 'little ghost'. It was the last in a long series of tessellations made in notebooks, but it was also a remarkable drawing in another respect. In 1962 the British mathematician Roger Penrose traveled to the Netherlands and he visited Escher in his house in Baarn. The two got to know each other after Penrose saw work by Escher during the International Mathematical Congress in 1954. They started an exchange of letters that in 1960 would lead to the print Ascending and descending. Penrose has been fascinated by tessellations throughout his career, a fascination that he shared with Escher. Penrose received a print from Escher and he, in turn, gave his host a wooden puzzle.
From 5 to 31 May 1955 the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam hosted an exhibtion under the name 'Kunstenaars herdenken 5 mei '(Artists commemorate 5 May). This coincided with the first national commemoration: May 5, 1955 was the first time that Liberation Day was celebrated as a national holiday in the Netherlands. The exhibition was an initiative of the eponymous foundation that was established on April 1 of that year. Escher was represented with, among others, Other World and Rippled Surface.
On April 28, 1955, Escher was working in ribbed velvet trousers and shirt sleeves in his studio when he was visited by an alderman and the municipal secretary of the city of Baarn. What he was working on at that time exactly is not clear. It could be reprints of existing prints, for example his four-meter-long Metamorphosis II, which was in high demand. Or his commissioned lithograph Liberation, which he made for the tenth Liberation Day on 5 May of that year. The alderman and the secretary told him that they would offer him the knight signs of the order of Orange-Nassau on behalf of the queen.