As seen on the Techniques Page, Escher printed his own woodblocks and mezzotints.  He had professionals print his lithographs.  Therefore, an original print was any that was made only from the block he carved.

    Every print was made in a limited edition.  Some of the more popular lithographs and woodcuts had a few hundred prints made.  Many of his works are in editions less than thirty.  Even now-famous lithographs, such as Drawing Hands, are in small numbers because Escher would rub the design out of the stone to create a new lithograph in its place.  This unfortunately prevented him from making additional prints when his popularity increased near the end of his life.

    The value of art comes from the thrill of owning a work actually created by the artist's own hands.  If this were not true, Picasso posters would sell for the same price as originals.  The same is true with Escher.  M.C. Escher was very protective of his work.  He did not issue posters or reprints with rare exception.  He did not sign facsimiles of his art.  In fact, he even declined a commission from the Rolling Stones to create an album cover for them.  He refused to sell-out, sacrificing monetary gain for dignity.

    Unlike other artists, Escher did not have an apprentice printing for him.  He signed and numbered his own lithographs and mezzotints.  Some other famous artists have signed posters, or had other people make lithographs from their paintings.  In fact, some artists have "posthumous prints" based on their art, created by other artists, and signed by family members so that the 'autograph' last name is the same!!!

    To ensure that "originals" weren't made after his death, his lithograph stones, mezzotint plates, and wood engraving blocks were irreversibly marred.                                          

                                                         ...next to IS MY PRINT ORIGINAL?


                                                                    




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What is an Original Escher Print?