Digging up a 20 year old book on M.C. Escher and sharing his art with my son, and I found myself appreciating his material more than I remember. And I realize he’s been part of geek-culture and popular illustrations of “trippy” impossibly twisting of perceptions or strange loops.
But could he be regarded as one of the greats in a genius blend of art and mathematics/geometry? Not unlike the breakthrough in vanishing points of the Renaissance era?
I think he’ll be considered one of the better artists of the 20th century, but I doubt he’ll be considered great. He’ll be studied in art school, but won’t be remembered like people like Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, van Gogh, etc.
The problem is that you really can’t compare his work with anyone else’s. He was definitely a genius, but his work is unique, and doesn’t fit into any category of art, or even illustration. Actually, that - in and of itself - may qualify him as one of the greats.
I think he will. He’s pretty much a household name, known for the qualities of his artifice. Even if someone only knows Relativity, Ascending and Descending, and Waterfall, they will recognise his work.
I have one of his pencil sketches tattooed on my back. It’s five pyramids intersecting each other. I call it my escher sketch. Others call it an everlasting gobstopper. One of those things that constantly draws the eye from one part to another.
From a purely price-based perspective, cold though it is, he clearly commands large $$, but not on a scale of big contemporaries like Pollock, Warhol, Johns, etc.
Again, he’s one of the greats, but in a “highly respected and collectible illustrator” sort of way. Please hear me - I am not saying I support this; I am trying to say that I perceive that MCE is viewed somehow differently from Great 20th Century Artists™ and am trying to articulate what it might be.
His approach was antithetical to the non-representational art that is identified with the period - and had no cultural commentary like Pop Art silkscreens.