Category Archives: Op Art

“The MFA Is Bringing Original M.C. Escher Art to Boston,” By Kalina Newman

M.C. Escher (Dutch, 1898-1972): Relativity, 1953. Lithograph, 10.9 x 11.5 inches (27.7 x 29.2 cm). © Cordon Art B.V. – Baarn – Netherlands.


“The MFA Is Bringing Original M.C. Escher Art to Boston”
‘A new exhibit called “Infinite Dimensions” will display prints never before seen in the city.’

By Kalina Newman


This Saturday—for the first time in Boston’s history—original works by graphic artist M.C. Escher will be on display at the Museum of Fine Arts. Titled “Infinite Dimensions,” the exhibit will showcase more than 50 pieces that range from his famous optical illusions to his earlier woodblock and pencil prints.

Escher’s art is known for inviting the viewer to transform the idea of time and space into something unknown and fluid. One of his most famous mind-bending works, Relativity, is a lithograph that depicts a collection of staircases going in several different directions. And though Escher passed away in 1972, it’s taken until 2018 for his original works to arrive in Boston.

“It struck me that when I looked at museum collections in the area that there are very few Escher prints, but yet there were so many people who are interested in the artist,” says Ronnie Baer, curator of the exhibit. “In Boston, his stuff was only known in reproduction—it had not been exhibited in original form.”

In addition to the art collection, Baer solicited feedback on Escher’s work from dozens of notable creative professionals such as musician Yo-Yo Ma and chef Barbara Lynch.

“[It’s] not so much an authoritative point of view, but a showcase of many different reasons to appreciate his prints,” says Baer of the feedback.

Statements from locals will be placed next to each work so that museum visitors may enjoy the art and consider other points of view at the same time. For example, astronaut Nicole Stott was asked to comment on the piece Three Worlds Illustrated, a print that depicts a koi fish swimming in a lily pond.

“Escher’s ‘Three Worlds’ is like seeing the Earth from space, encouraging us to understand the harmony and complexity of our home from a completely new vantage point,” said Stott in her statement.

M.C. Escher. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Another highlight of the exhibit is the display of Escher’s gigantic piece Metamorphosis II, a black, green and brown woodcut print that spans 13 feet across twenty blocks of wood. The print transforms from a chessboard, to a village, to a tessellation of cubes, among other shapes. The piece is set to take up an entire room, making it ideal for art-loving Instagrammers to photograph.

However, the exhibit goes beyond Escher’s gigantic and sometimes mind-boggling prints. Baer worked to gather dozens of Escher’s lesser-known works in order to represent the artist’s technical side. All of Escher’s printmaking skills are honored, from lithographs, to wood engravings, to linocuts of art.

“There’s a lot to see and explore,” explains Baer.

One showcase of Escher’s skill is the display of his close-up print, Eye. A series of six proofs, or rough drafts, will be displayed next to the piece to show the artist’s process in crafting the print.

“He’s really an underestimated artist,” says Baer. “This will give the public a chance to assess his artistry from his own images.”

“Infinite Dimensions” will be on view February 3 through May 28, 2018 at the Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, mfa.org.

Image courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston


By Kalina Newman, Reprint from Boston Magazine, 31 January 2018, 2018, © Metro Corp.


 

M.C. Escher (Dutch, 1898-1972): Rippled Surface, March 1950. Linocut in black and grey-brown on japan paper, 33.6 x 40.1 cm; image: 26 x 32 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. © Cordon Art B.V. – Baarn – Netherlands. Image: The National Gallery of Canada.

 

M.C. Escher (Dutch, 1898-1972): Hand with Reflecting Sphere, 1935. Lithograph, 31.8 x 21.3 cm. © Cordon Art B.V. – Baarn – Netherlands.

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Op Art

On the origin of Op Art — Victor Vasarely!

Vasarely is recognized as the original mover and shaker of form and color — creating and manipulating images in new ways that tease the eye and the mind. In fact, it would be nearly three decades after his initial foray into this new visual territory before the term “Op Art” existed. Time magazine coined the term in 1964, ‘validating’ what had by then grown to be a recognized art movement.

There are many masters, but by way of introduction, following are a few favorites by three titans in the Op Art movement: Victor Vasarely, M.C. Escher and Bridgette Riley.

Victor Vasarely (Hungarian-French, Op Art, 1906-1997): Zebra, 1937. Woodcut print, 52 x 60 cm. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Victor Vasarely (Hungarian-French, Op Art, 1906-1997): Zebra, 1937. Woodcut print, 52 x 60 cm. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Victor Vasarely (Hungarian/French, Op Art, 1906-1997): Tettye (Untitled). Serigraph. Private Collection. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Victor Vasarely (Hungarian/French, Op Art, 1906-1997): Tettye (Untitled). Serigraph. Private Collection. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Victor Vasarely (Hungarian/French, Op Art, 1906-1997): Quadrature, c. 1979. Color silkscreen on wove paper. Private Collection. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Victor Vasarely (Hungarian/French, Op Art, 1906-1997): Quadrature, c. 1979. Color silkscreen on wove paper. Private Collection. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Victor Vasarely (Hungarian/French, Op Art, 1906-1997): Riu Kiu C, 1960. Acrylic on canvas, 115 x 115 cm. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Victor Vasarely (Hungarian/French, Op Art, 1906-1997): Riu Kiu C, 1960. Acrylic on canvas, 115 x 115 cm. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Bridget Riley (British, Op Art, b. 1931): Kiss, 1961. Acrylic on linen, 122 × 122 cm (48 x 48 inches). © Bridget Riley. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Bridget Riley (British, Op Art, b. 1931): Kiss, 1961. Acrylic on linen, 122 × 122 cm (48 x 48 inches). © Bridget Riley. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Bridget Riley (British, Op Art, b. 1931): Fall, 1963. Polyvinyl acetate paint on hardboard, 1410 x 1403 mm. Tate Modern, London, UK. © Bridget Riley. Image: © Tate. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.  ‘I try to organise a field of visual energy which accumulates until it reaches maximum tension’, Riley said of this work. (© Tate.)

Bridget Riley (British, Op Art, b. 1931): Fall, 1963. Polyvinyl acetate paint on hardboard, 1410 x 1403 mm. Tate Modern, London, UK. © Bridget Riley. Image: © Tate. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles. ‘I try to organise a field of visual energy which accumulates until it reaches maximum tension’, Riley said of this work. (© Tate.)

M.C. Escher (Dutch, 1898-1972): Concentric Rinds Colour, 1953. M.C. Escher (Dutch, 1898-1972): Bond of Union, 1956. Lithograph, 25.3 x 33.9 cm (10 x 13-3/8 inches). © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

M.C. Escher (Dutch, 1898-1972): Concentric Rinds Colour, 1953. M.C. Escher (Dutch, 1898-1972): Bond of Union, 1956. Lithograph, 25.3 x 33.9 cm (10 x 13-3/8 inches). © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

M.C. Escher (Dutch, 1898-1972): Rippled Surface, March 1950. Linocut in black and grey-brown on Japan paper, 33.6 x 40.1 cm; image: 26 x 32 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. © Cordon Art B.V. - Baarn - Netherlands. Image: © 2013 The National Gallery of Canada. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

M.C. Escher (Dutch, 1898-1972): Rippled Surface, March 1950. Linocut in black and grey-brown on Japan paper, 33.6 x 40.1 cm; image: 26 x 32 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. © Cordon Art B.V. – Baarn – Netherlands. Image: © 2013 The National Gallery of Canada. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Victor Vasarely (Hungarian/French, Op Art, 1906-1997): Duo-2, 1967. Medium: Gouache, acrylic on board, 12-1/4 x 16 inches (31 x 40.6 cm). Private Collection. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Victor Vasarely (Hungarian/French, Op Art, 1906-1997): Duo-2, 1967. Medium: Gouache, acrylic on board, 12-1/4 x 16 inches (31 x 40.6 cm). Private Collection. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Bridget Riley (British, Op Art, b. 1931): Deny II, 1967. Polyvinyl acetate emulsion paint on canvas, 217.2 x 217.2 x 40 cm. Tate Modern, London, UK. © Bridget Riley. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.

Bridget Riley (British, Op Art, b. 1931): Deny II, 1967. Polyvinyl acetate emulsion paint on canvas, 217.2 x 217.2 x 40 cm. Tate Modern, London, UK. © Bridget Riley. © This artwork may be protected by copyright. It is posted on the site in accordance with fair use principles.