I was raised with a print of “High and Low,” by M. C. Escher. To see the actual work fulfilled one of my own personal art history treasure hunts. My childhood copy hung on a narrow wall above a stairwell in my parent’s house. It depicts a boy seated on a staircase, talking to his mother as she looks down from a window. The perspective is undulating, impossible, and is repeated twice. Just Escher’s ability to replicate—with such cunning detail – the image renders him a master of the twentieth century.

I often followed the image, casting myself as the boy. I wondered how and where such a place could exist. Only in the mind of M. C. Escher, or I would later discover, in the magical realism of writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It is readily apparent Escher is still vital today: coffee mugs, posters at Target, and even reconstructions of “Impossible Stairways” in Lego blocks appear when Escher is searched on Google.

Escher is known for manipulating space and time while working in more of a realist than an abstract vein. This makes him a near-universal favorite among museum and art enthusiasts. Dreamlike is a word that comes to mind as easily as playful and architectural. Reptiles leave their drawings and march over books, only to return to the drawing once more. Hands draw themselves, burst forth from the image and ask whether the artist gives his work life, or the other way around.

“We are very excited because this is the first time all these pieces have been exhibited together,” said Kelly Bodle, co-curator of the museum.

From January 20th-April 11th roughly three-hundred-fifty examples of the artist’s work will be displayed at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. Maurits Cornelius Escher (1898-1972) was a prolific artist and draftsmen. His work calls to mind the detailed delicacy of Northern European painters like Van Eyck.

He is perhaps lesser known for his detailed landscapes of Southern Italy, presented in this venue with maps and photographs.

Rock J. Walker, the Guest Curator of the show, owns the world’s second largest collection of Escher works. He hosted a similar show at the Seattle Art Museum, where it broke records for attendance. Walker expects the same will happen in Boca Raton. Marc Bell is an Escher enthusiast who generously lent some of his work for the exhibit after he learned of its conception. He is also a two time Tony Award winner for the musical Jersey Boys.

Iconic works such as Hand with Reflecting Sphere, 1935, and Day and Night, 1938, both lithographs and Reptiles, 1943 a woodcut will be on display. Other highlights of the show include preliminary studies for drawing hands. The museum presents the artist’s work with a 2007 documentary, “Achieving the Unbelievable.”

Other unique items complement the show such as a watercolor study for a ceramic plate, letters and other documents, as well as furnishings from the artist’s studio are on loan from the M.C. Escher Museum in The Hague. The works are catalogued

The Boca Museum is also having a bit of fun. On display will be a grouping of vintage black light posters. Doubtlessly the artist would have found these to be fun. While you might consider them to be “far out.”

 

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