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In the Art Gallery
M.C. Escher: Rhythm of Illusions


Scarabs, 1935
Wood engraving, 16 x 22 inches
Portland Art MuseumScarabs



Rippled Surface, 1950
Linoleum cut, 16 x 22 inches
Lent anonymously to Portland Art Museum



Relativity, 1953
Lithograph, 22 x 28 inches
Portland Art Museum


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After years of "self-delusion,"* during which he obsessed about perfecting his technique, M.C. Escher had an epiphany.

"There came a moment when it seemed as though scales fell from my eyes. I discovered that technical mastery was no longer my sole aim, for I became gripped by another desire...Ideas came into my mind quite unrelated to graphic art, notions which so fascinated me that I longed to communicate them to other people."

The ideas, Escher said, centered on a sense of wonder about the laws of nature and the "enigmas that surround us."

Words, he said, weren't up to expressing the images filling his mind. Instead, using his mastery of the graphic arts, in 1938 he started on the path to producing the complex visual puzzles for which he is best remembered. His vivid optical illusions paved the way for the birth of the optical art movement that took hold in the 1950s.

The San Jose Museum of Art (SJMA) will have 70 of Escher's prints and drawings from the 1920s through the 1960s on display from January 28-April 22, 2007. The Rhythm of Illusions exhibit, organized by The Portland Art Museum, will feature a range of the Dutch master's work, including several lesser known early pieces and preparatory drawings.

VerbSap thanks SJMA for permission to reproduce the Escher images at left. More information about the artist and his work is available online.

*Source: M.C. Escher: The Graphic Work, New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 2001.



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