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M.C. Escher
Order and Chaos

1950

Price Upon Request

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Limited-edition of 46 Hand-signed & numbered in pencil lower left margin Also titled by Escher in pencil - EXTREMELY RARE Catalogue raisonné: Bool #366 Custom frame dimensions: 29" high x 28" wide © The M.C. Escher Company B.V. Escher created this print in 1950, around the same time that crystallographers were taking an interest in his artwork. Despite the world around us appearing chaotic, at a microscopic level it is highly ordered. The molecules that create a crumpled piece of paper are tessellated in the most orderly of arrays. Escher made a number of prints that included polyhedrons during the 1950‘s. The stellated dodecahedron that adorns the center was one of his favorites and appears as the centerpiece in two other lithographs. We see here a crystal sphere, or perhaps a soap bubble, which contains geometric star which pierces its skin. This shape is a stellated dodecahedron, the same figure Escher populated with dinosaurs in his lithograph ‘Gravity.’ Surrounding this sphere, and quite literally reflected in it, is an assortment of seemingly chaotic rubble: a broken pipe, an eggshell, a cough-drop package, some pottery and glass, and what we might call a sublime still life of paper and string. But what we often perceive as chaotic is perhaps not so random after all. For example, if you were to take one of these discarded objects and examine it under a powerful microscope, you would see perfect little interlocking crystals and molecules. We don't see these orderly patterns.... but they are there, disguised as chaos! Surprisingly similarly, if we look at Escher's tessellating prints we might see perfect birds and fish interlocking, at times even people fit together, and we can find identical horsemen marching along. We never see such creatures in their perfect forms, but Escher can illustrate their harmony and perfection brilliantly. Is it too far a leap, then, to believe that all of creation, and we as humans, may follow some perfect invisible pattern, and perhaps we fit together in some unknown way like the little men tumbling down the stairs in Escher's lithograph 'Cycle' Escher himself explained this with a rare philosophical remark: "I try in my prints to testify that we live in a beautiful and orderly world and not in a formless chaos, as it sometimes seems.”

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About the Artist

M.C. Escher

Nothing is quite what it seems in the universe of Maurits Cornelis Escher (widely known as M.C. Escher). The Dutch artist, famed for his graphic prints featuring infinite staircases, twisted perspectives and self-replicating animals, was a master of illusion in more ways than one.Escher's pictures aren’t simply puzzles designed to play tricks on the brain; they were born of a desire to stretch our powers of perception, to encourage us to cultivate a natural curiosity and playfulness about the world around us. According to New York gallerist Skot Foreman, the artist had a rare gift. “He combined the structure and analytics of the left brain with the artistic creativity of the right brain,” Foreman explains. “Somehow, he turned images into mind-bending universes that were able to stretch the boundaries of our imagination, urging us to rethink the realms of possibility within nature’s laws of order.”But creating illusionistic illustrations was not Escher’s only talent. He was also a passionate diarist, recording his thoughts and frustrations in written form throughout his life. He often lamented that his pictures could never fully convey his cerebral imaginings. At the same time, he expressed impatience with those who couldn’t see beyond the surface appeal of his shape-shifting patterns. Escher was an artist who sought perfection and felt misunderstood by the mainstream art world.“The most important thing about Escher is that he was always curious, always researching and exploring. Most people lose this quality as they get older, but Escher maintained a childlike enthusiasm for the world,” says Dutch filmmaker Robin Lutz, whose thoughtful feature-length film, M.C. Escher: Journey to Infinity, marries documentary footage with animation and unfolds at an unhurried pace, allowing Escher’s witty and intelligent prose to gently guide us through his creative evolution.Escher always carried a magnifying glass in his pocket to “enjoy the tiniest details” at his feet, be it a plant climbing a rock, a butterfly or a grasshopper. He had a real passion for travel and spent more than a decade in Rome with his wife, Jetta, and young family. It was there that he first played with multiple perspectives, sketching the city’s architecture at night to avoid the “excessive baroque frills” he deemed too distracting in the daylight. Another big development was sparked by a 1936 visit to the Alhambra palace in Granada, Spain. Inspired by the Moorish tiles of the 14th-century landmark, Escher started to experiment with repeating patterns, or tessellations, creating his first woodcuts and lithographs of metamorphosing birds, lizards and fish interlocking and filling the entire surface of the paper in jigsaw fashion.During and directly after World War II, Escher produced many of his most famous works, emotional reactions to a world plunged into chaos. This period marked the start of his fascination with impossible staircases, never-ending waterfalls and cyclical still lifes featuring figures and creatures seemingly caught in a loop, a paradox of entrapment and renewal.Indeed, the concept of infinity was a major inspiration for him. It informs his fish-eye studies and curvilinear perspectives, which cram in so much dizzying detail it’s impossible to know where one thing ends and another begins. It’s no wonder, then, that Escher’s probing, mind-expanding prints have such enduring appeal.Find original M.C. Escher art on 1stDibs.
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