The Columbia Museum of Art presents its featured spring exhibition, The Imaginative Worlds of M.C. Escher, on view February 6 through June 6, 2021, with a free public preview day on Friday, February 5. A consummate boundary-pusher and arguably the most famous printmaker of the modern era, Maurits Cornelius Escher (1898–1972) used his work to challenge perspectives, deftly exploring the relationships between art and science, reality and illusion, chaos and order, and logic and absurdity.
“Escher has to be one of the most recognized artists of the 20th century. His mind-bending, reality-warping prints include subjects like infinite staircases, tessellating birds changing into fish and back again, and two hands drawing each other,” says CMA Executive Director Della Watkins. “His work is known and beloved today by everyone from kids to designers to scientists, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with all our visitors.”
Escher’s images pervade popular culture and fascinate audiences with their imaginative design, consummate draftsmanship, and dreamy visions. Initially inspired by nature, Escher’s work later became submerged in what he referred to as “mental imagery,” a host of subjects influenced by Moorish architecture, mathematical equations, alchemy, and the concept of metamorphosis.
This is the largest private traveling Escher collection in the world and includes woodcuts, lithographs, drawings, and all eight mezzotints from his career. Visitors will see his best-known prints as well as lesser-known works, spanning his entire career from his earliest print to his final masterpiece, and also get a glimpse into the artist’s process with a woodblock study and lithographic stone.