Hand with Reflecting Sphere by M. C. Escher (1898–1972), 1935. All objects illustrated are in the collection of Michael S. Sachs; photographs © The M. C. Escher Company, the Netherlands, courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. For many of those born late into the Baby Boom generation, the work of M. C. Escher might have provided their first experience of art. The Dutch graphic artist was marginalized for most of his career—he did not receive a retrospective exhibition in his homeland until 1968, at age seventy— but he burst on the scene with perfect timing. His mind-bending art—endless staircases that defy space and gravity, a pair of hands drawing each other with pencils, a couple whose faces spiral apart like an apple peel—was perfectly in tune with the psychedelic spirit of the Age of Aquarius. (A fact that did not particularly please the stodgy Escher; he bristled when Mick Jagger addressed him by his first name in a letter asking him to design an album cover for the Rolling Stones.) Currently on view in Houston is a show that the Museum of Fine Arts touts as the largest and most comprehensive Escher exhibition ever presented, featuring more than four hundred prints, drawings, watercolors, textiles, and other works. It’s an appropriate scope for an artist who was ever-changing, never satisfied with the world as it is. Sky and Water I by Escher, 1938. Maurits Cornelis Escher, born in 1898, the son of a civil engineer, was a sickly child and a poor student. He made a failed attempt to study architecture, but his promising aptitude as a draughtsman led him to graphic design. Even so, all he drew was off-kilter—for example, making landscapes from simultaneous, opposing perspectives, a view from above and below all at once. He
Pendant, c. 1750. Rienzi Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas Rienzi, the mansion in the River Oaks neighborhood that is home to the MFA Houston’s European decorative arts collection, is the venue for the small, but resonant current exhibition Materials of Empire: Colonial Narratives 1700–1860. The show examines the links between the luxurious artworks on view, which range from fine jewelry and furniture to a sterling silver nutmeg grinder, and the trade and industry, often powered by slavery, that brought the works or their constituent materials to Europe from colonial outposts in Africa, the Americas, and India. This probing exhibition is not to be missed so, check here to plan your trip in advance. Pleasant Hours by Nura Woodson Ulreich (1899–1950), 1931. Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, Massachusetts. Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, Massachusetts This season, the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is celebrating the work of Nura Woodson Ulreich, an artist who was a painter, printmaker, and muralist as well as a children’s book author and illustrator. Curators of the exhibition Finding Nura: Rediscovering an American Modernist from the Kendra and Allan Daniel Collection hope to revive interest in the Kansas City, Missouri-born artist, who was acclaimed in midcentury New York for her playfully modernist, highly stylized depictions of childhood, but whose notoriety diminished after her death in 1950. The artist is overdue for renewed attention, so make sure to visit the exhibition and, check here to plan your trip! Federal Weight-Driven Eglomise Banjo Clock from the collection of G.W. Samaha. CRN Auctions, Cambridge, Massachusetts. CRN Auctions, Cambridge, Massachusetts On June 19, CRN Auctions will be honored to conduct a sale of works from the collection of G.W. “Bill” Samaha, a preeminent, respected,
Check out what’s going on this week at museums across the country!
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