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Nonza and The Art Institute of Chicago

In spite of his modest income, Escher made a trip to Corsica in May 1933, together 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 he received a letter from The Art Institute of Chicago. It states that Nonza, Corsica has won third prize in their print exhibition. The prize money, 25 dollars, was intended for purchase. It is equal to the price Escher asked for the print, so it automatically became the property of the Art Institute. The cheque is enclosed with the letter. It 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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