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Unique loan

Last week a display case was revealed at Escher in The Palace, containing a unique loan by Mr and Mrs Hoogendijk-Floor. They purchased several works by M.C. Escher over the years, and these were recently given as long-term loan to Escher in The Palace. The works they own include a vignette featuring fish and the accompanying woodblock. Very few of Escher’s woodblocks are extant and intact, and most of them are privately owned. Hence this loan is invaluable to the museum.

Fish (vignette), woodblock, 1955
M.C. Escher, Fish (vignette), woodcut, 1955

The loan also comprises an exhibition invitation and several vignettes for cards. Each year, from 1953 to 1956, Escher produced a colour woodcut for Eugène and Willy Strens. Each time Escher explained one of the four elements on a vignette, which was sent by the couple as a New Year’s greeting. In the fire-themed New year’s greeting, Escher opted to use the figures from his print Encounter (1944).
M.C. Escher, Encounter, lithograph, May 1944
M.C. Escher, Fire (New Year's greeting-card 1955), woodcut in yellow and orange, printed from two blocks, with letterpress in grey, October 1952

His decision to use fish to illustrate the theme of water was a logical one, as fish were a recognisable, recurring element in Escher’s work throughout his career. Like, for example, in the woodcut Fish from 1941. For assignments, Escher did not shy away from re-using formerly used themes.
M.C. Escher, Fish, woodcut in three tones of grey-green, printed from three blocks, October 1941
M.C. Escher, Water (New Year's greeting-card 1956), woodcut in green and blue, printed from two blocks, with letterpress in grey, October 1952

More Escher today