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Villa Les Clématites

On 4 July 1935, the Escher family moved from Rome to the Swiss town of Château-d’Oex, out of sheer necessity. Maurits would have liked to stay in Italy, but he found the rise of fascism increasingly hard to stomach. His sons being forced to wear Mussolini uniforms was the last straw. But there was a second reason. The youngest son, Arthur, suffered from tuberculosis and moving to the mountains would improve his health. The fact that Nina, Jetta’s sister, was already living in Switzerland, brought Château-d’Oex even more into the picture.

This town is located to the east of Lake Geneva and is surrounded by mountains. The quiet and isolated Château-d’Oex differed from the hectic Rome in every way imaginable. Maurits and Jetta both had trouble dealing with the transition, but the children took to it immediately. Maurits focused on his work and, because of the isolation in Switzerland, made great progress. He also created work that was directly related to his new environment: a poster for the local chess club and one for an exposition he held with a painter he had befriended, John Paschoud. Yet the family moved again two years later, to the Belgian town of Ukkel.

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