Between Art and Kitsch: Kunstmuseum – Print by Escher – Between Art and Kitsch

In the broadcast on Wednesday 18 May 2022 from Het Kunstmuseum, Willem de Winter appreciates two prints and an Ex Libris, made by none other than Maurits Cornelis Escher, Mieke Zilverberg appreciates a Roman gold ring intended for the tomb and Martijn Akkerman shines his light on an English brooch and earrings.

brooch and earrings
  • Manufacturer: unknown, not approved
  • Origin: England
  • Date: brooch: 1860, earrings: 1960
  • Material: brooch: silver and gold with diamond and ruby, earrings: white gold with diamond and ruby
  • Measurements: brooch: 4 cm, ear studs 3 cm

The lady got the brooch and the rivets about thirty years ago from her aunt from England. She was invited to England with her cousins. There she received this brooch and earrings, how her aunt got it is unknown. She saw that it was beautiful jewelry, but it was clips, so it was not so convenient to wear. She put them in the closet and found them again much later. She is considering splitting the brooch and earrings into pieces for her children.

Martijn Akkerman: It looks like a set, but the brooch and the ear studs do not belong together. The brooch is about 100 years older than the rivets. The material it is made of is also different. However, both jewelry come from England. Usually a set of jewelry is called a ‘demi parure’, pairs are French for decoration. But because these do not originally belong together, it is better to separate them before sale.

The brooch is made in the form of a camellia, a flower that in Asia stands for good luck. The flower was brought to Europe by the VOC in the 17th century and is used mainly as a good luck in the 19th century. So this brooch may have been a wedding gift.

The earplugs are clips, so you do not need holes to put them in. This was seen more often after the war, because you did not want to mutilate yourself. The shape of the earplugs is typically fifty. The baguette-cut stones come from the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s of the last century.

  • Presentation: ‘Development 1’ (with planes and salamanders in the middle) and ‘Small and smaller’ with salamanders forming geometric patterns. Signed in pencil. Ex Libris: Bookworm crawling out of a book.
  • Maker: Maurits Cornelis Escher
  • Origin: Belgium and Baarn
  • Dates: 1937 and 1956
  • Material: paper
  • Dimensions: 50×50 cm, 20×20 cm Ex Libris: approx. 12 x 5 cm

Mister lived opposite Escher, he was often allowed to look in his studio when he himself was about seven years old. His father was very close friends with Escher. His eldest sister was allowed to choose two prints from Escher for her wedding. Also his other sister. But he was only allowed to choose 1 print for his wedding. He later received the second print from Escher. His father’s name was Albert Ernst Bosman, he was an engineer in Delft. He was preoccupied with the mathematical limits of forms.

Both Escher and Bosman became interested in astronomy, and then went to meetings in it together, by bike, then the gentleman was allowed to ride on the back of his bike as a child. Escher made an Ex Libris for Bosman. He asked if Escher would make him a bookworm. Bosman himself has provided the text, it is Sanskrit, Neti Neti does not mean “not this, not that”, or “neither this nor that”. Bosman also made a print himself, Pythagoras’ wood, which Escher thought was beautiful. In reproduction, these were given to all kinds of mathematics teachers.

Willem de Winter thinks it is a wonderful descent. Escher has become world famous as a graphic artist. He had such a wonderful imagination that he came up with special creations. In his early days he lived in Italy and made many landscapes. When his first son was to learn to sing fascist songs in school, he left Italy forever and began to focus on the division of surfaces.

‘Development 1’ is one of the very first tessellation prints. Escher has been to the Alhambra in Granada a few times in a few times, where he saw tiles of Islamic art and patterns running into each other. Only there were no animals or humans. Surface filling but also a development and metamorphosis, the surfaces change into salamander figures. And from two-dimensional, completely flat, to three-dimensional in the middle. In the end, Escher was not happy about it, because he felt that everything was too inward. Then he made the print Day and Night, which made him world famous. With flying black and white birds. He got a lot of contact with mathematicians because he made that kind of thing. They saw in Escher’s work solutions that they themselves struggled with as mathematicians.

The second, smaller, colored print is a proof of a print called Kleiner en Kleiner, from 1956. He combines the division of the surface with the theme of infinity. You can make the circle smaller or larger. It is the middle part of a larger print, and is very rare.

Escher made Ex libris for his father, for Albert Ernst Bosman. This completes the connection between Escher and father. All in all, these works have a great origin. Especially in the last year, there has been a huge price development for Escher’s work. His work is very popular.

Roman gold ring
  • Manufacturer: unknown
  • Origin: Nijmegen area, Maas and Waals land
  • Dating: stone is 1st century AD, gold ring is 2-3. century AD
  • Material: gold and gemstone / engraved stone of cornelian
  • Dimensions: diameter 2 cm

Mister excavated the ring in 2018 with a metal detector. He drives across the country along the Roman road / lime (border), they drive down to find Roman things. So he ended up in Maas en Waal and that was where this ring was found. He always does it with his daughter. When he found this ring, he immediately knew it was something special. But he’s not going to sell it, it’s his showpiece.

Mieke Zilverberg: Both elements in this ring are authentic, but not originally made together. The carved stone is older than the gold ring. The stone is made in the 1st century AD, ring 2-3. century AD It happened regularly that a stone was later placed in another ring. Even now it is still happening.

The ring is made of 24 carat gold and is therefore very soft, so it is easily deformed. The ring is therefore not made for daily use, but for the grave. It was a lady’s ring that belonged to a wealthy person. It is important that this ring is registered with PAN (Portable Antiquities Netherlands)
You must keep an object, if it is found up to half a meter below ground, if it is found deeper, it is to the owner of the land.

Sent on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 at 20.30 on NPO 1 (Then the broadcast can be seen again on NPO Start)

Leave a Comment