Escher, Maurits

First name: 
Year of birth: 
Country of birth: 
The Netherlands
Working period: 
1924 - 1972
Year of death: 

Maurits Escher is born at Grote Kerkstraat 11 in Leeuwarden (now part of the Keramiekmuseum het Princessehof) on June, 17 1898. Father George Arnold Escher is chief engineer at Rijkswaterstaat. Maurits is the youngest of three sons in father's second marriage with Sarah Gleichmann. In 1903 the family moves to Arnhem. Maurits is studying enginering at the HTS te Delft. But finally he finds his job as a draughtsman and graphic artist. In 1922 he finishes his study graphic techniques in Haarlem (Haarlem School of Architecture and Decorative Arts). He was taught by Jessurun de Mesquita. In the same year he is travelling to Spain and visits the Alhambra in Granada. He also travels to Italy where he meet his future wife Jetta Umiker. The couple live in Rome between 1924 and 1935. Later, in 1936, Escher and his family travels again to Spain to study the tile patterns in the Alhambra. These tilepatterns inspired him a lot.

His methamorphoses emerge around 1960. Escher designes in total four tilepatterns for monumental use. The first design with a geometrical pattern with lines is for his Rome villa. These tiles are delivered by an Italian majolica producer in 1926. In a number of buildings in The Netherlands tiles with patterns after Maurits Escher have been applied. Columns are lined with tiles with a repeating pattern. An enummeration: 1. Den Haag, Johanna Westermanschool; 3 columns (1959), white and black swans; white and black lizards; white annd black birds. 2. Den Haag, Eerste Vrijzinnig Christelijk Lyceum: wall plastic (1959-1960) with concrete tiles with a pattern of white and black Pegasus. 3. Amsterdam, Dirk Schäferstraat 59 (1960): tilepicture with birds and fish. 4. Baarn, Nieuw Baarns Lyceum (1970): lining of two columns; fish/bird motiv, flower and hexagon motiv (columns replaced in 2011). The production of these curved tiles in a 'cuerda seca' technique has been executed by De Porceleyne Fles in Delft.

Additional information about the Baarn columns was given by Sjoerd Hekking. 

See also: and:

Pictures: portraits and wall plastic in Den Haag (1959-1960) (source Locher 1981); design Bird/Fisch, column in Nieuw Baarns Lyceum 1970 (pictures Capriolus).

  • M.C. Escher: tegels in vogelvlucht, in: Keramika, no. 2 1998.
  • Locher, J.L, Leven en werk van M.C. Escher, Amsterdam 1981.