Will M.C. Escher be regarded as one of the greats?

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.

He’ll always have a place on college dorm walls. :wink:

Escher’s neat, not great.

“Ha, nice trick!” is the right response to an Escher artwork, and that’s not really a formula for greatness.

Talking right out my ass I am here but it’s the thing God gave me to speak with.

Him and Edvard Munch. I have books on both of them - the only art books I ever bought.

Isn’t he essentially a surrealist? I mean, I have no problem grouping him together with artists like Magritte and Dali.

it is hard to say what it is.

Erik Nitsche had a much different style, but I suspect that he would appeal to a similar set of people.


I love Escher - he reached in and touched my brain when I was growing up.

I guess I think of him as like Prog Rock - mastery of craft, complex ideas, but a following that hovers between cult and mainstream.

We’ll have to see how the continuing-to-be-ascendant geek/nerd culture progresses…we’ve elevated comic books, Tolkien, etc - maybe Escher will be lifted up more, too…

El Greco suffered from the same problem for several centuries.

Isn’t he already regarded as “one of the greats”?

That’s what I thought. :confused:

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.

He was unique. Same as Dali.

He IS one of the greats.

Whether he will be regarded as one, I have no idea.

You can never finish understanding great art, but you completely understand an Escher the first time you see it.

Perhaps an example of great art that can never be completely understood would illustrate this theory?