M.C. Escher, “Drawing Hands,” 1948, lithograph, 11 x 13 in. © Collection of Herakleidon Museum, Athens 2017

A great Midwest museum is offering a rare glimpse into the life and career of one of the 20th century’s most acclaimed graphic artists and masters of illusion.

Known for his imaginative tessellations of bids, frogs, and lizards, and his impossible never-ending staircases and waterfalls, Dutch artist M.C. Escher (1898-1972) created some of the most popular images in modern art. The fascinating worlds Escher created in his drawings, lithographs, and woodcuts have proven to be timeless, appearing on the covers of albums and on the walls of countless teenagers’ bedrooms and college dormitories.

M.C. Escher, “Day and Night,” 1938, woodcut, 15 7/16 x 26 5/8 in. © Collection of Herakleidon Museum, Athens 2017
M.C. Escher, “Day and Night,” 1938, woodcut, 15 7/16 x 26 5/8 in. © Collection of Herakleidon Museum, Athens 2017

March 4 marked the opening of “M.C. Escher: Reality and Illusion” at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin. On view through May 28, the exhibition includes some 120 woodcuts, lithographs, mezzotints, and drawings that “delve deeper into both the literal and impossible worlds Escher created over a career spanning five decades,” the museum writes. “Drawn from a large private collection, ‘Reality and Illusion’ includes early figure drawings, lesser-known book illustrations, detailed Italian landscapes, the tessellations for which he became famous, and examples of his signature architectural fantasies in which stairways seem to go both up and down.”

To learn more, visit the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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