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Escher, close up

4 February to 28 May 2017

Escher’s personal photo archive

Maurits Cornelis Escher used photography as a source of inspiration and as part of his preliminary studies, as was  evident for the first time in the exhibition Escher, Close Up. Escher took hundreds of photos during his life, but he never exhibited them. Although they transcend the level of glimpses into his family life, these photos were considered private by Escher. He compiled neatly ordered photo albums comprising snapshots of wonderful memories and interesting images. After his death, his archive was only viewed by a select group of historians.

Escher's wife Jetta overlooking Atrani, May 1931
M.C. Escher, Metamorphosis III, (detail Atrani) woodcut, 1939-1940 / 1967-1968

Escher, Close Up enabled visitors to see a selection of images from Escher’s personal photo archive. His photos not only offer insight into his mind and his daily life, but they also provide an unparalleled vision of his way of working as an artist. They show how he strived towards composition and visual illusion, for instance. To look at his photos is to focus on what fascinated the artist, revealing his perspective on the world. Escher has never been so close.

George Arnold Escher on the seesaw, 6 September 1929
Maurits Cornelis Escher and George Arnold Escher, 29 December 1926
The Escher family at the beach in Scheveningen, Summer 1931
Escher, sketching at Mount Vesuvius, 30 May 1934
Giuseppe Haas-Triverio at the Cattolica of Stilo, Calabria, 15 May 1930
M.C. Escher, Cattolica van Stilo, Calabria, litho, November 1930

Read the stories by former curator Dunja Hak about the role photography played in Escher’s life and work and how this exhibition came to existence.

The extraordinary in the ordinary

From frame to cutout

From photo to fantasy

Escher, close up: a fresh look at the famous artist and his work

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Escher, close up: a fresh look at the famous artist and his work

On 3 February our new exhibition opened: Escher, close up. Escher was a keen photographer and for the first time his photo archive is on show. It gives us a new perspective on the artist and his work. How did this exhibition come about?
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From photo to fantasy

During the 1920s and 1930s, Maurits Cornelis Escher often went on long trips through Italy to soak up some inspiration for his work. Escher’s preliminary studies comprised not only sketches but also photos.
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From frame to cutout

Escher’s work is known for such things as his optical illusions and his playing with perspective. He had an aptitude for rendering day-to-day subjects unfamiliar by means of the viewpoint he took or the cutout he made. The ideal nourishment for this was photography, which Escher took up when he…
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The extraordinary in the ordinary

The Escher, close up exhibition is closed. The past few months 50,500 visitors have enjoyed this new perspective on Eschers life and work. Over the past few days we have been working into the night to dismantle the exhibition and restore normal order. Back to the permanent set-up, back to…
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Temple at Segesta

Escher visited Sicily for the first time in the spring of 1932, together with his friend and painter Giuseppe Haas-Triverio. From Palermo they travelled to the coast, circled Mount Etna, to Randazzo and visited the lava formations at Bronte. In just over a month, Escher made 23 drawings and took…
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