M.C. Escher’s Life and Art

GENERAL TEXTS

The Magic Mirror of M.C. Escher
Bruno Ernst.
Koln; London; Taschen, 2007.
116 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
NE670.E82 E8 2007
Outlines the basic approaches and techniques employed by the artist, focusing particularly on the math involved in Escher’s process. Explanatory diagrams and pencil studies accompany illustrations of the finished works.

M.C. Escher his life and complete graphic work; with a fully illustrated catalogue
F.H. Bool.
New York : Abradale Press/Harry N. Abrams, 1992.
349 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 31 cm.
NE670.E75 L4813 1992
A comprehensive look at Escher’s artistic career, including illustrations of every print (woodcuts, wood engravings, lithographs, linocuts and mezzotints) he ever created. There is also biographical information and some in depth information on certain works.

M.C. Escher: Visions of Symmetry
Doris Schattschneider.
New York : H.N. Abrams, 2004.
Xiii, 379 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm.
NC263 .E83 S3 2004
An academic text that explores Escher’s process with illustrated early examples of his first attempts to divide the plane, a theory of geometry that would continue to fascinate Escher throughout his career.

 

DIRECT FROM THE ARTIST

M.C. Escher Letters to Canada
Cyndie Campbell.
Ottawa : National Gallery of Canada, 2013.
NE670 .E75 C36 2013
Correspondence between Escher and his son George ranging in topic from relaying daily routine news to Escher’s highly personal struggles and triumphs in his work. In a letter from Escher to his son George, April 14, 1963, Escher writes, “The fear of growing useless in old age (if that is to be my fate) is mitigated by the hope of new tessellations to fill my time indefinitely.” The letters are written in a casual, familiar tone expected of a father and son.  Illustrations (some foldouts) accompany references in the letters.

Escher on Escher Exploring the Infinite
Escher, M.C.
New York : H.N. Abrams, 1989.
158 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 21 cm.
NE670 .E75 A35 1989
A compilation of Escher’s writings and lectures about his work, including an exploration of artistic approaches to demonstrating infinity. Selections range from formal lectures never delivered due to illness to published articles.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

Masters of Deception Escher, Dali & the Artists of Optical Illusion
Al Seckel.
New York : Sterling Pub. Co., 2004.
320 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm.
N7430.5 .S414 2004
Discusses optical illusion in the visual arts with references ranging from historic artists like Vermeer to contemporary artists like Vik Muniz. Each chapter is devoted to a different artist, succinctly describing their biography and providing full page color illustrations of their work exploring optical illusions.

A Woodcut Manual
Julius J. Lankes.
New York: H. Holt and Co., c1932.
106 p., [12] p. of plates : ill. ; 26 cm.
NE1225.L3
An instruction manual for the art of wood block printing written when Escher would have been studying the trade as an apprentice. Of particular note is the chapter on the art of designing a successful bookplate. Many of Escher’s bookplates can be seen in the Currier’s exhibition M.C. Escher Reality and Illusion.

Contemporary Art and the Mathematical Instinct
Tweed Museum of Art
Duluth, Minn. : Tweed Museum of Art, c2004.
88 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 23 x 25 cm.
N72.M3 C65 2004
An exhibition catalogue with illustrations of the work of contemporary artists whose work is builds on Escher’s tradition of an interdisciplinary approach to art.

Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye
Rudolf Arnheim.
Berkeley : University of California Press, 1969.
485 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
N70.A68 1969
Uses psychology to analyze what is happening in the human eye when looking at a piece of art.

 

ONLINE RESOURCES
What are Tessellations?
An informative website that explains tessellations, how to make them and how Escher used of them in his artwork.
http://www.tessellations.org

Tessellation Creator,National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Interactive website that allows you to create your own tessellations electronically using standard geometric shapes.
http://illuminations.nctm.org/Activity.aspx?id=3533

What is a Mezzotint?, National Portrait Gallery
In depth website explaining the history of mezzotints and the printing process used to make a mezzotint.
http://www.npg.org.uk/research/programmes/early-history-of-mezzotint.php

The Printed Image in the West: Mezzotint, The Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Succinct history of the Mezzotint and value of it in comparison to etching and engraving.
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/mztn/hd_mztn.htm

What is a Print?, Museum of Modern Art
Interactive flash driven website with descriptions and animations of printmaking processes including lithography and woodcut, Escher’s preferred printing methods.
http://www.moma.org

Metamorphose: 1999 Documentary Reveals the Life and Work of the Artist M.C. Escher, Open Culture
This website allows you to view the hour long documentary film made about Escher’s life in 1999 by Dutch director, Jan Bosdriesz. The film discusses Escher’s entire artistic career and includes man clips from live interviews with Escher explaining his obsession with shapes and pattern. It also includes footage of the artist at work creating the woodcut Snakes.
http://www.openculture.com

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