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The Philips letter, 1950

On 25 November 1950, L.C. Kalff, Director of Artistic Affairs at Philips, dictated the following letter to Escher:

‘Dear Escher,
33 years ago we produced countless drawings together for the Delftsche Studenten Almanak. Although I have not had the pleasure of working with you since those early days, I have been following your Metamorphosis from aspiring architect to printmaker with great interest. I now have a proposal to make, which I hope will be of interest to you.
We are hastily creating a reception area in the old factory of 1891, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Philips in May 1951’.

Kalff’s letter marked the beginning of a brief yet intense collaboration that resulted in a stunning ceiling measuring more than 9 metres by 8 metres. The old factory was the first Philips lighting factory to be built in the centre of Eindhoven, and dates back to 1891. After the 60th anniversary celebrations, Philips management envisaged creating an exhibition area showcasing the latest developments in the field of light. Read more about the design and history of this ceiling in this story by former curator Micky Piller.

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