Order tickets
Lange Voorhout 74
2514 EH Den Haag
T: 070-4277730
E: info@escherinhetpaleis.nl


Encounter, from May 1944, and Reptiles are the only major works Escher produced during the war. He describes Encounter like this*:

‘Out from the grey surface of a back wall there develops a complicated pattern of white and black figures of little men. And since men who desire to live need at least a floor to walk on, a floor has been designed for them, with a circular gap in the middle so that as much as possible can still be seen of the back wall. In this way they are forced not only to walk in a ring, but also meet each other in the foreground: a white optimist and a black pessimist shaking hands with one another.’

The optimist has his hand open, as a gesture of friendship. The pessimist has his finger raised, as a warning. Yet they shake hands, which lends the print a touch of the encouraging in these times of war.

Regular division drawing no. 63 (Pessimist-Optimist), ink, coloured pencil and and watercolour on paper, January 1944
M.C. Escher, study for Encounter, pencil on paper, 1944


[*] M.C. Escher, M.C. Escher. The Graphic Work, TASCHEN, 1989, blz. 11