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Nonza and The Art Institute of Chicago

In May 1933, Escher made a trip across Corsica with his friends Giuseppe Haas-Triverio and Roberto Schiess. Corsica was quite rugged and desolate in those days, inhabited by just 150,000 people. Within five weeks, they crossed the island on foot, by carriage, and by bus*. The medieval town of Nonza was the subject of a lithograph Escher made the following winter.

On 8 June 1934, Escher received a letter from The Art Institute of Chicago. It stated that Nonza, Corsica had won third prize at their print exhibition. The prize money, 25 dollars, was intended for purchasing the work. It was equal to the price Escher asked for the print, so it automatically became The Art Institute of Chicago’s property. The cheque was enclosed with the letter. The Art Institute of Chicago is the first American institute to buy one of Escher’s prints.

[*] Wim Hazeu, M.C. Escher, Een biografie, Meulenhoff, 1998, page 160

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