ESCHER OP REIS / FRIES MUSEUM / LEEUWARDEN / 28 April – 28 October 2018. M.C. Escher’s “Day and Night” (1938) Woodcut in black and grey, printed from 2 blocks. 677x 391mm. © The M.C. Escher Company, B.V. All rights reserved. Photo Exibition Text and Pictures (ph Ruben van Vliet) Esher’s Journey Courtesy of Fries Museum marketing and communicatie,

Day and Night (1938)

HR - Escher - Photo Ruben van Vliet-12

Exhibition texts Escher's Journey-26

Il successo contemporaneo e senza tempo di Maurits Cornelis Escher incisore, grafico, tra gli artisti più importanti nella storia si riconferma, si rinnova, si riassembla in una genialità artistica anticipatrice della necessità di potersi esprimere ed osservare senza limiti. Escher Op Reis, Escher’s Journey, Il Viaggio di Escher, la Mostra al Fries Museum di Leeuwarden sua città natale, è stata dal 28 Aprile al 28 Ottobre con 256.450 visitatori l’esibizione più vista di sempre nel museo olandese. Escher è ancora oggi studiato, copiato, ma forse non ancora completamente compreso nella sua semplicità teosofica di osservare ed immaginare realtà e limiti visibili e non visibili coincidenti, uniti, necessari l’uno con l’altro. Leeuwarden  Capitale Europea della Cultura 2018 e il Fries Museum con la mostra d’arte contemporanea Phantom Limb: Art beyond Escher fino al 6 Gennaio 2019 continueranno a viaggiare nelle reinterpretabili semplici e geniali osservazioni di Maurits Cornelis Escher. (m.g.)

ESCHER OP REIS / FRIES MUSEUM / LEEUWARDEN / 28 April – 28 October 2018. M.C. Escher An artist awakes 1920 woodcut. Photo Exibition Text and Pictures (ph Ruben van Vliet) Esher’s Journey Courtesy of Fries Museum marketing and communicatie, Photo Lieven Endriks Phantom Limb: Art beyond Escher Courtesy of Leeuwarden 2018,

Exhibition texts Escher's Journey-8



Fries Museum Logo


press release


leeuwarden, 29 october 2018

with 256,450 visitors, escher’s journey is the fries museum’s most successful exhibition ever



The Fries Museum’s exhibition Escher’s Journey attracted 256,450 visitors, making it the most-popular exhibition ever in the Fries Museum’s history; the museum had initially anticipated 120,000 visitors. With this success, Escher far surpasses former recorder holder Alma-Tadema, who attracted 158,000 visitors over four months in 2016-2017. Due to the unprecedented popularity of Escher’s Journey, the Fries Museum was sold out almost daily for six months. Visitors and (inter)national media were extremely enthusiastic about the quality of the exhibition.


From 28 April to 28 October, the Fries Museum brought M.C. Escher back to his hometown of Leeuwarden. Escher’s Journey followed his development from graphic talent to world-famous artist. With more than 80 original prints, around 20 drawings and various photographs and objects, visitors retraced the footsteps of the travel-mad graphic artist, who found inspiration for his best-known works in Italy and Spain.XPEX Amsterdam’s innovative exhibition design enhanced the experience of Escher’s life and work.


Museum director Kris Callens looks back with satisfaction: ‘With Escher’s Journey the Fries Museum is proud to have been the heart of Leeuwarden-Fryslân European Capital of Culture 2018 for six months. We have succeeded in shining new light on these world-famous works with a well-constructed story and with exceptionally carefully litoriginal prints. With its 3D street art, Escher in the grain and activities for children and the elderly, Planet Escher was a project by and for everyone in the city, in the region and on social media. With Phantom Limb – Art Beyond Escher, the exhibition was given an inspiring contemporary extension. This year has given us the energy to continue to create high-quality international exhibitions with a low threshold that are rooted in our Frisian heritage.


unprecedented success

The exhibition was popular from the start. The museum was sold out almost every day and had to extend its opening hours several times to cope with the demand. Public research shows that visitors rated the exhibition with an average of 8.4. 96% of the visitors came to the museum especially for the Escher exhibition. Of these, 22% came from Friesland, 10% from abroad and 68% from the rest of the Netherlands. For just over half of the visitors, this was their first visit to the Fries Museum. The museum was also well visited online. In the exhibition period, the website was viewed 700,000 times.

In addition, the audio tour and interactive elements turned out to be a great success. The audio tour, narrated in Dutch by top actor Pierre Bokma and in English by director Peter Greenaway, was heardby 71,000visitors. In the Escher Studio, a reconstruction of Escher’s workshop in Rome, 8212 visitors made a digital woodcut and 41,166 visitors made a selfie after the example in the masterpiece Hand Reflecting Sphere(1935).

media attention

The press also paid a lot of attention to Escher’s Journey. 1814 articles were published print andonline, with a combined media value of €5,198,103. Dutch newspaper NRCawarded the ‘beautiful exhibition’ five stars and said that it was‘breathtaking’ and ‘stunningly beautifully lit’. The Leeuwarder Courant also applauded the ‘exceptional lighting’. The BBC acclaimed Escher’s Journey as ‘the artistic highlight of the Cultural Capital’ and New Scientist spoke of a ‘beautiful, illuminating and comprehensive exhibition that is definitely worth a visit’.


economic benefits for leeuwarden

Together visitors spent €8,061,814 in Leeuwarden on tickets, food, drinks, accommodation, shopping and other activities. 195,325 people came to Leeuwarden especially for the Fries Museum or stayed longer in the city because of the exhibition. Furthermore, 29,270 people slept an average of 1.8 nights (i.e., the exhibition resulted in more than 53,000 overnight stays in the city).


learning, reading, buying

More than 7,300 school pupils visited the exhibition, 500 of who participated in a creative workshop in the museum’s studio. Another 3,100 pupils received guest lessons about Escher at school.

The museum shop and pop-up store also did well:7,272 copies of the bilingual exhibition publication and 196,119 Escher items were sold. The turnover of the museum shop amounted to €927,714.


escher and rembrandt

Escher’s Journey may have ended, but the graphic artist is not yet out of sight. Planet Escheris still open until the end of the year and the exhibition Phantom Limb: Art beyond Escher can be seen until 6 January 2019.In addition, the Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics, the building where Escher was born, honours one of its most famous residents until 31 January 2020 with a presentation of photographstaken during his youth, objects and film fragments. Meanwhile, the Fries Museum is preparing for Rembrandt and Saskia: Love in the Dutch Golden Age. From 24 November, Rembrandt van Rijn and Saskia Uylenburgh will form the leitmotiv of an exhibition on society marriages in the 17th century.


press release


leeuwarden, 27march 2018

The Fries Museum brings m.c.escher’s masterpieces to leeuwarden


From 28 April 2018, the Fries Museum will be presenting the large-scale exhibition Escher’s Journey. More than 80 original prints, about 20 drawings and various photographs and objects will be exhibited in Leeuwarden, the birthplace of M.C. Escher, and this year’s European Capital of Culture. Highlights from all over the world trace his artistic development from a technically skilled graphic designer to a world-famous artist. Some of the works have not been exhibited in the Netherlands for decades, and this is the first time ever that several of them are being displayed here. The exhibition, for which 25,000 tickets have already been sold in three months, runs until 28 October 2018.


Escher’s Journey makes M.C. Escher’s development as a visual artist tangible. The influence of the places he lived is central to the exhibition. From the flat, grey Netherlands of the 1910s to the sun and mountains of the Mediterranean. The sketches Escher made along the way and the impressions he accumulated remained a source he would return to repeatedly for the rest of his life. The prints Escher made on his many travels are a prelude to his inversions of reality that we know so well from his later work.


the journeys of m.c.escher

MauritsCornelis Escher was born in 1898 in Leeuwarden, in the city palace that nowadays is home to the Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics. As a young artist, Escher travelled to Italy, where he spent his happiest years. A series of prints of Italian villages and the dark works of Rome by night show that he experimented with striking perspectives and image compilations, inspired by the landscape. Back in the Netherlands, Escher processed all these experiences into complex mathematical images and impossible worlds. An Italian mountain landscape can be seen in the background in the world-famous Belvedere (1958), and the port town of Atrani is incorporated into Metamorphosis II (1939-1940). Escher’s iconic metamorphoses, perspectives and impossible constructions can also be seen in the exhibition. His masterpieces are so much more than graphic masterstrokes; they are assemblages of elements from different periods in his colourful life.



Among the works in the Fries Museum’s exhibition is Eight Heads (1922). At least two variants are known of this woodcut, in which a motif of four women’s and four men’s heads is printed several times. In one version Escher printed the woodblock nine times and in the other version six times, in a different composition. In a letter from 1940, Escher describes the print from the exhibition as ‘the only print I possess’. It is one of the first tessellations he made. A special feature is that the version on view in Leeuwarden was once in the possession the artist’s eldest son, George Escher, who donated the work to the National Gallery of Canada in 1982.

Another masterpiece is Convex and Concave (1955). In this work, Escher turns a Mediterranean-style building inside out. Different perspectives merge in a dizzying yet conflicting manner. Escher said: ‘Can you imagine that I have been thinking continuously about this print for more than a month because all my attempts have always proved to be too difficult to understand?’ Escher’s attempts are reflected in the ten preliminary studies that are presented together with the print. The original lithograph he used to make the print will also be exhibited.



For this exhibition, the Fries Museum has worked closely with the M.C. Escher Foundation in Baarn, which opened up its archive and loaned a substantial part of its collection. The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag (permanent exhibition: Escher in the Palace) and the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam also loaned a number of important works and early prints. Other loans come from Italian and North American private collections and Aegon.

XPEX Amsterdam designed the exhibition. In their innovative design, the interplay of light and dark reinforces the experience of Escher’s life and work in the six rooms. The illusion of spaciousness makes the exhibition a physical encounter.

NTR made the interactive documentary De metamorfose van Escher, which can be viewed online as well as in the exhibition via a digital workstation. This interactive documentary makes it possible to discover Escher’s work first hand, to learn more about his techniques and his place in art history. Later this year, in Het Uur van de Wolf, NTR will broadcast a documentary about this famous artist. This documentary by Robin Lutz and Marijnke de Jong complements the content of the exhibition. Lutz made the film Escher: journey to infinity, which opens in the cinemas on 12 April. The film tells the story of MauritsCornelis Escher in his own words, with texts from his letters and diaries: his amazement, his fears, his doubts and his successes. The viewer follows Escher in his quest for inspiration, joins him on his travels through Italy, Switzerland and Spain, and shares the thought processes behind his great works.


2018 = m.c.escher in the fries museum

This year Leeuwarden will be in the thrall of M.C. Escher. In addition to a large exhibition dedicated to his work, for the rest of the year the Fries Museum presents Phantom Limb: art beyond Escher. This exhibition includes impressive installations by contemporary national and international artists that put the visitor on the wrong foot and create a world in which nothing is what it seems. Like Escher, these artists question the objective perception of reality. Moreover, under the name Planet Escher, the museum is organising projects throughout the year in the province to bring together various groups within the community, with M.C. Escher as a binding factor.


Donazione libera di sostegno alla Testata Giornalistica GIORNALISTA INDIPENDENTE

GIORNALISTA INDIPENDENTE – Riproduzione Riservata – Testata Giornalistica Telematica Quotidiana N.168 del 20.10.2017. Direttore Responsabile MANUEL GIULIANO.