Gielijn Escher - Living for Posters

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Gielijn Escher, Poster Ludwig Hohlwein, Marco Polo fee, ca 1920-25, lithography Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Gielijn Escher, New Years greetings 1999, offset Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Gielijn Escher, Poster Lucian Bernhard, Stiller, 1908, lithography

Press release

Gielijn Escher
Living for Posters

2 June - 30 September 2012

Gielijn Escher has been designing and collecting posters for fifty years. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is showing a combined survey of Escher’s own posters and a selection from his collection. The exhibition coincides with the publication of a book: ‘Gielijn Escher Living for Posters’.

This summer Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is exhibiting a selection of approximately sixty posters by Gielijn Escher (1945). The display is complemented by sixty posters from Escher’s collection of German posters by artists including Lucian Bernhard, Hans Rudi Erdt and Ludwig Hohlwein. To coincide with the exhibition, Uitgeverij De Buitenkant is publishing a book on Escher’s work with an essay by Mienke Simon Thomas, curator of applied arts and design at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

Designer and collector
At the age of seventeen, Gielijn Escher decided to become a poster designer. Despite the fame of the modernist posters and packaging and posters for Rotterdam’s Van Nelle factory by his grandfather Jacob Jongert and the world-famous work of his great-uncle M.C. Escher, Gielijn developed a completely personal style.
His passion for collecting began very early. At the age of six he began collecting orange wrappers and labels from orange crates. Four years later he started his, now vast, collection of posters.

Gielijn Escher studied in at the Institute for Applied Arts Education (IvKNO), the forerunner of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam the 1960s. However, he learned most from looking at the work of groundbreaking designers such as Wim Crouwel, Jan Bons, Dick Elffers and Nicolaas Wijnberg. Typical of Escher’s independent vision was that he also had great admiration for more commercial designers such as Frans Mettes and Cor van Velsen. In the early 1970s Escher discovered the work of early-twentieth-century designer Lucian Bernhard and his contemporaries. Since then, Bernhard’s very simple and highly stylised Sachplakate have been a great source of inspiration for the designer.

Cultural clients
Most of Escher’s clients have come from the cultural sector. He has made announcements for dance and theatre performances, concerts and exhibitions. His powerful, colourful posters of the 1970s for the Shaffy Theater, Dansgroep Krisztina de Châtel and the Festival of Fools achieved great popular recognition. The admiration for Escher’s work is apparent not only from the hundreds of commissions he has received but also from the prestigious prizes he has won: the H.N. Werkman Prize (1978) and the Prins Bernhard Foundation Prize for Applied Arts and Architecture (1997).

Design in Boijmans
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is the Dutch podium for national and international design talent. Since 2011 the museum has presented a range of exciting design exhibitions as part of the programme ‘Design in Boijmans’. There is also a wealth of design on display in this summer. From July the museum’s new displays of its Design Collection will be opened in several phases. In addition, the museum is beginning a new series of ‘design columns’, highlighting current developments in Dutch design. Also there will be a presentation of the work by textile designer Frans Dijkmijer and an exhibition of Finnish glass by Cor and Sjoukje de Wit.