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Bust of ‘Jojo’

On 23 July 1926 George Arnold Escher was born, the first of Maurits’s and Jetta’s three sons. He was named after grandfather Escher and after Nol, Escher’s brother who had tragically died during a mountain trip the year before. In his own stoic way with words, Escher wrote to his parents he was happy*:

‘He’s an adorable, sweet and beautiful child. Definitely not a freak’

Jetta was not allowed to feed him herself, so they hired a wet nurse whom Escher would have great trouble ousting from their home seven months later. Three years later friend and artist Jobs Wertheim produced a portrait of ‘Jojo’, George’s nickname. The whereabouts of this painting are unknown.

To his friend Bas Kist Escher wrote on 4 May 1929:

‘This Wertheim will soon exhibit the work he made the last winter in Rome at the Academy in Amsterdam; among his pieces is an excellent-looking portrait of my eldest son; take a look; he is a man of the future, serious and talented (I mean Wertheim) (my son is of course a genius).’

In 1930 Escher’s friend and artist Mario Montemurro created a bust of George. Escher put a photograph of this bust in one of his albums. Montemurro would make a bust of Jetta too, which Escher used as a model for his lithograph Bond of Union in 1956.

[*] Wim Hazeu, M.C. Escher, Een biografie, Meulenhoff, 1998, blz. 134

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