You’ve seen the posters, now see the originals. As the last of only two venues in the United States to show this once-in-a-lifetime loan from Athens, Greece, “M.C. Escher: Impossible Realities, on view at the Akron Art Museum February 12 – May 29, 2011, presents the rare and thrilling privilege of examining first-hand the masterworks of Maurits Cornelis Escher.

One of the most brilliant yet enigmatic artists of the 20th century, Escher delighted in creating visual puzzles that challenge our perception of reality.

“Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?” asked Escher. “Are you definitely convinced that you will be on a higher plane when you walk up a staircase?” Such musings led to “mind-bending” qualities in his spatial illusions and have lent his imagery an enduring place in pop culture iconography.

“We are so excited to offer viewers the chance to become enchanted with Escher’s unique vision of the world,” said Curator of Exhibitions Ellen Rudolph. “Spending time with his exquisitely executed prints will undoubtedly yield wonderful discoveries and, as Escher hoped to inspire in his viewers, pure astonishment.”

 Impossible Realities provides the opportunity to survey the breadth of Escher’s career from the 1920s to the 1960s. The exhibition showcases 130 of the artist’s finest works, starting with his early book plates, moving on to landscapes, tessellations and impossible worlds, and concluding with his very last print, “Snakes” (1969). Featured in the exhibition are seminal and instantly recognizable works such as “Drawing Hands” and “Reptiles”, as well as the extremely rare lithographic stone for the making of “Flatworms” and wood blocks, study drawings and single-color prints that illustrate Escher’s artistic process from concept to finished print. The exhibition comes from the Herakleidon Museum in Athens, Greece, which houses one of the world’s largest collections of Escher’s work. The Akron Art Museum is one of only two U.S. venues for the exhibition.

This exhibition is presented in cooperation with the Herakleidon Museum, Athens, Greece. Its presentation in Akron is made possible in part by generous gifts from Herb and Dianne Newman, The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation and The Sisler McFawn Foundation.