Monday, September 21, 2009

What MC stands for

New Year's Day 1969, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones initiates a series of letters to M.C.Escher because Jagger wanted to use an Escher piece on the jacket of a new LP, "Through The Past Darkly". Mick was one of MCE's biggest fans, but it seems the feeling was not mutual. As we know, Escher's musical taste was for classical music with an emphasis on J.S. Bach, whom Escher referred to as "Father Bach".

The following passage is from a 1974 Holland Herald

"The artist (Escher) claimed he didn't have time, let alone the inclination, to cooperate with anyone who addressed him as:

Dear Maurits,
For quite some time now I have had in my possession your book (Graphic Works Of..) and it never ceases to amaze me each time I study it! In fact I think your work is quite incredible and it would make me very happy for a lot more people to see and know and understand exactly what you are doing.

In March or April this year, we have scheduled our next LP record for release, and I am most eager to reproduce one of your works on the cover-sleeve. Would you please consider either designing a "picture" for it, or have you any unpublished works which you might think suitable -the "optical illusion" idea very much appeals to me, although one like "Evolution" would of course be equally as suitable. -and would say the same thing. You might even like to do a long one like "Metamorphosis" which we could then reproduce as a folding-out sleeve. It could be either in one colour or full colour, that would be up to you entirely.

Naturally, both you and your publishers would get full credits on the sleeve, and we could negotiate a fee on hearing of your decision to do it. I would be most grateful if you could contact Peter Swales or Miss Jo Bergman at the above address or telephone (reverse charge), and either will give you every necessary assistance. However, I am not so fortunate as to possess a Dutch interpreter, and so if you do not speak English or French, I would again be grateful if you could fix up somebody in Baarn to oblige.

Yours very sincerely,

Escher's reply left Baarn on January 20. It was addressed to Mr. Peter Swales and read:

Dear Sir,
Some days ago I received a letter from Mr. Jagger asking me to design a picture or to place at his disposal unpublished work to reproduce on the cover-sleeve for an LP record.

My answer to both questions must be no, as I want to devote all my time and attention to the many commitments I made; I cannot possibly accept any further assignments or spend any time on publicity.

By the way, please tell Mr. Jagger I am not Maurits to him, but
Very sincerely,
M. C. Escher.

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