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.
Escher was something of a countercultural icon. He had a dedicated fanbase among the hippie generation. His work decorated countless bedrooms in the form of calendars and posters, and graced album covers by bands such as Mott the Hoople and The Scaffold. He was not terribly happy about it. He refused to work with Stanley Kubrick as a consultant on the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. He also rejected Mick Jagger’s invitation to design a Rolling Stones record cover.
I heard he was offended by Mick Jagger’s informal approach: ‘Dear Maurits’ — with which the singer had begun his letter to him. Escher ended his reply, sent to Jagger’s assistant, with the words: ‘Please tell Mr. Jagger I am not Maurits to him, but very sincerely M.C. Escher.’
Don’t forget his drawing hands which fetched $57,360 at Christies in 2003. His most valuable prints tend to be those of his most famous and spellbinding images like the drawing hands. There is more info on https://www.mfah.org/exhibitions/virtual-realities-art-of-mc-escher