Recognition came late in life for MC Escher. Only in the 1960s, did he become a countercultural icon, feted by the likes of Stanley Kubrick and Mick Jagger.
Escher had an intuitive understanding of mathematics, which proved crucial to his success as an artist. Beyond intuition, he also enjoyed reading about mathematical concepts, many of which — infinity, reflection, symmetry, tessellation, perspective — crop up in his work.
Another well-known work, Print Gallery (1956), above, depicts a man in an art gallery viewing a print of a port scene — and among the buildings in that port is the very gallery in which he stands. Escher was here making use of a mathematical process known as ‘recursion’.
The Dutch artist M.C. Escher (1898-1972) once said of his image-making: ‘You have to retain a sense of wonder, that’s what it’s all about.’
A printmaker of distinction, Escher is renowned above all for his visual riddles and puzzles, which routinely result in heads being scratched. A floor might become a ceiling, an exterior might become an interior, or stairs might rise infinitely but lead nowhere.
This summer (2022), the largest ever Escher retrospective was held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Prices for his prints have shown a marked rise in recent years: in total, nine works by Escher have fetched more than $150,000 at auction, seven of those since 2019.