ATHENS.- The Herakleidon Museum
presents the third phase of the exhibition From Drawing to Masterpiece, highlighting the Unknown Escher. The third phase will be on display until August 2nd 2009. All of the works of Phase III are exhibited for the first time in a museum environment.
Unknown Escher refers to the artistic side of the artist which was never seen by the general public. Few Escher admirers know that he drew nudes, stamps, a cemetery hall mural, as well as textile patterns. He also decorated a Postal Office in Holland.
Most of the exhibited works never became final prints because either the artist lost interest in them or the project was stopped. Of great interest are Escher's portraits and self-portraits. These extremely rare drawings give us a more complete understanding of Escher as an artist.
A section of the exhibition will be dedicated to the first and second phases of the exhibition presenting several well known prints along with the original drawings. A computer and high definition monitor will be available for viewing a comprehensive selection of drawings from the Escher archive. Visitors will be able to select individual drawings and magnify them for further study.
M.C. Escher is best known for the prints that challenge the viewers perception of two and three dimensions and his sense of gravity, as well as for the many works which illustrate the regular division of the plane. Those among his admirers who want to learn more about the artist will usually discover the prints, mostly landscapes and cityscapes that Escher made during the many years he lived in Italy. There is, however, another body of work spanning the artists career that is rarely, if ever, seen. He created designs for stamps, textiles, two ceilings, and several murals, such as the monumental one at the Post Office in The Hague and the intarsia wood panels in the Leiden Stadthuis (Town Hall). Other works include very early drawings and portraits, as well as studies for projects that were never executed. All the drawings and studies Escher left behind reveal an artist constantly experimenting with new ideas. We hope that this third phase of the exhibition will acquaint the viewer with this rarely seen side of M.C. Escher.
Maurits Cornelis Escher was born on June 17th 1898, in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. He was raised in Arnhem and at an early age he showed his special talent for drawing. In 1919, Escher attended the Haarlem School of Architecture and Decorative Arts. He briefly studied architecture, but failed a number of subjects and switched to decorative arts. Here he studied under Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita, with whom he would remain friends for years.
In 1922, Escher traveled through Italy and Spain. He was impressed by the Italian countryside and by the Alhambra, a fourteenth-century Moorish castle in Granada, Spain. He came back to Italy regularly in the following years.
It was in Italy that he met Jetta Umiker, whom he married in 1924. The young couple settled down in Rome and stayed there until 1935, when the political climate under Mussolini became unbearable. The family next moved to Château-d'OEx, Switzerland where they remained for two years. Escher was decidedly unhappy in Switzerland, so in 1937, the family moved again, to Ukkel, a small town near Brussels, Belgium. World War II forced them to move again in January 1941, this time to Baarn, the Netherlands, where Escher lived until 1970.
Escher moved to the Rosa Spier House for the elderly in Laren in 1970, where he died on March 27, 1972, at 73 years of age.