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First commercial endeavours

At the end of 1933, Escher started to explore the possibilities of applying his work to commercial assignments. The first attempt was a design for wrapping paper. He hoped to sell it to a number of large department stores: de Bijenkorf, Gerzon, Zingone and Korall. Using their logos as motifs, he created several patterns that could be printed on wrapping paper. He also experimented with the names by making them interlock in playful ways.

Only de Bijenkorf jumped at this offer, with Escher’s design being produced and used in the department store. In a letter to his friend Bas Kist he asked him to obtain some existing wrapper paper from another store, Gerzon, because he did not know what the trademark of this fancy fashion store looked like*.

‘[…] I imagine that Len [Bas’s wife] or you shop at Gerzon occasionally, so you might be able to fulfil this wish.’

Here you can see the final designs for the four companies.

M.C. Escher, design for wrapping-paper: De Bijenkorf, woodcut, September 1933
M.C. Escher, design for wrapping-paper: Gerzon, woodcut in green, 1933

M.C. Escher, design for wrapping-paper: Korall, woodcut, 1933
M.C. Escher, design for wrapping-paper: Zingone, woodcut in brown, 1933

[*] Wim Hazeu, M.C. Escher, Een biografie, Meulenhoff, 1998, blz. 159

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