M.C. Escher, Regelmatige vlakverdeling
M.C. ESCHER, REGELMATIGE VLAKVERDELING
‘Stichting De Roos’ was established in June 1945 – one month after the liberation of the Netherlands. During the Second World War quite a large number of clandestine fine editions had been published, and it was this love of the book that the founders wanted to keep alive. In their first prospectus they explained their mission ‘to make books and printed matter solely for the pure and therefore altruistic love of typography and art, in all conceivable forms in which they may be combined’. The best known and most sought-after publication from ‘Stichting De Roos’ is Regelmatige vlakverdeling [Regular Division of the Plane] (1958) by M.C. Escher.
The Museum Meermanno has owned the archive of ‘Stichting De Roos’ since 2003. This rich archive includes, among other things, membership records, minutes, production material and the ‘project files’ of the publications that were produced in editions of 175 copies. The project file of Regelmatige vlakverdeling reveals that Escher had initially been asked to illustrate a book by Belcampo. However Escher preferred a text of his own, about his major specialism. ‘It might become’, he wrote in 1956 to Karel Asselbergs, a member of the board, ‘a most curious publication; or something, anyway, (said in all modesty) that no other graphic artist on the entire globe would be able to furnish you with. It doesn’t sound very modest, but what can I do about it? That’s just the way it is.’
The Museum Meermanno does not only own the first copy (No. 1) of this sought-after book, but also the proof sheets and the wood blocks Escher made for the book. The Meermanno acquired the first copy because the museum took over the subscription for the editions published by ‘Stichting De Roos’ from M.R. Radermacher Schorer, one of the greatest collectors of fine press books the Netherlands has ever known. The Meermanno owes a great debt of gratitude to Radermacher Schorer: well over 4,000 of the finest works from his collection have ended up in the museum.