MC Escher Lithographs

    Escher created his first lithograph in 1920, but he didn’t add them to his repertoire until 1929.   Although not nearly as numerous as woodcuts, some of his most famous images are lithographs, such as Drawing Hands or Reptiles.  

    The lithograph technique differs significantly from wood engraving.  A mirror image of the final print is drawn on a smooth stone with a black grease pencil.  Printing involves a water layer and an ink layer and then pressing the image onto paper.  M.C. Escher hired a professional lithographer to print his stones because it is such a tedious process.      

    Click on anything you are interested in for more information and larger pictures.  Many pieces are for sale. Please inquire as inventory changes quickly.


Lithographs 1938 - 1961 

    Escher’s later lithographs are comprised heavily of tessellations and impossible buildings.  The lithograph medium allows far more shades of gray to better create light, shadow, and a sense of depth.  Escher admitted frustration with the “regular division of the plane” as a two-dimensional tiled plane could stretch for infinity.  His problem lie in how to represent or contain that infinity.  He came up with a few solutions.  In many cases the infinite ring loops back onto itself.  In others, the infinite plane gets smaller and smaller toward the edges, implying that it continues infinitely, but microscopically (See the Circle Limit prints). Click on any thumbnail for more info.


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   Mezzotints are even more laborious to make then lithographs.  They are created by smoothing out a very rough copper plate with an instrument with a spoon-like tip.  The rough spots hold in black ink when the plate is inked and wiped.  The black ink comes off anywhere the plate is smooth when wiped.  The wiped plate is then pressed onto a paper.  The smoothed areas become white in the final printing.  The smoother the area, the whiter it prints.  A link to the different printing states of “Eye” can be found HERE.  The plate does not last long; an artist can only make 50 to 100 prints before the details are lost.