Alastair Sooke, for BBC:
Yet, if we’re honest, how much do most of us really know about its creator, the Dutch printmaker MC Escher (1898-1972)? The truth is that outside his homeland Escher remains something of an enigma. Moreover, despite the popularity of his fastidious optical illusions, Escher continues to suffer from snobbery within the realm of fine art, where his output is often denigrated as little more than technically accomplished graphic design.
In Britain, for instance, it appears that only a single work by Escher belongs to a public collection: the woodcut Day and Night, which presents two flocks of birds, one black and one white, flying above a flat Dutch landscape in between a pair of rivers. Day and Night was Escher’s most popular print: during the course of his lifetime, he made more than 650 copies of it, painstakingly rendering each impression with the help of a small egg spoon made of bone.
I grew up admiring the works of the great sci-fi artists: Barlowe, Burns, Foss, Giger, McQuarrie, Mead, Whelan. But there was also Escher, a stranger who came from another place. I had several giant books of his prints that I would just stare at for hours.