M.C. Escher (1898-1972)
Escher’s son George found a grasshopper on the stairs of their home in Rome, and he recalled years later how his father has taken the creature up to his studio and meticulously copied its complex rhythmic surface patterns. Escher’s explanation was insightful and poignant: ”In order to see it, I had to draw it!” The wood engraving is a remarkable tour-de-force of patterning and was subsequently created as a wood engraving by Escher in March of 1935, with the image entitled "Scarabs" on the other side of the wood block. The block was cancelled by Escher with a 3/4" hole and is held in a private collection in the U.S. awaiting donation to a museum. A very small number of hand-signed impressions exist; Escher's sales records show only 6 examples were sold between 1935 and 1965. An unsigned printing (however it is initialed and dated in the inked plate) was done in 1940 for the double issue 3&4 of the Dutch bibliophile publication entitled "HALCYON", as part of a booklet written by Dutch art critic G.H.'s-Gravesande, who was the first to write Escher. The edition size is unknown, but was probably in the vicinity of 100, most of which examples have been lost over time. Due to the popularity of the image, there was also a small unsigned edition printed in 1940.