Examples of Op Art:
Maurits Cornelis Escher (Dutch, 1898-1972), Balcony, 1945, lithograph, 11 3/4 x 9 1/4 inches (29.7 x 23.4 cm), National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. In the center of this picture of a hillside town, Escher said he tried to break up the paper’s flatness by “pretend[ing] to give it a blow with my fist at the back, but . . . the paper remains flat, and I have only created the illusion of an illusion.”
Here three worlds, each with their own gravitational forces exist simultaneously, operating perpendicularly to one other.
Maurits Cornelis Escher, Belvedere, 1958, lithograph, 8 1/4 x 11 5/8 inches (462 x 295 mm), National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. This belvedere has three stories, but its drawing results in an optical illusion. Escher has employed a hybrid of linear perspective that produces a mixture of two possibilities. Note how the pillars connect the second to the third story.
Victor Vasarely (French, born Hungary, 1908-1997), Basilan II, 1951-1958, acrylic paint, 60 cm x 65 cm, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Iran. Vasarel’s geometric paintings of the 1950s moved gradually toward optical art.
Victor Vasarely, Blue-Black.
Ad Reinhardt (American, 1913-1967), Black Painting No. 34, 1964, oil on canvas, 60 1/4 x 60 1/8 inches (1.530 x 1.526 m), National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. See Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism.
Bridget Riley (British, 1931-), Intake.
Bridget Riley, Cataract.
- Escher sites:
- The official M.C. Escher Web site‘s biography of Escher points out that in addition to impossible figures, he designed postage stamps and tapestries, illustrated books and sometimes worked in three dimensions, carving wooden spheres. The best thing here is a 3-D multimedia section that flies a viewer around and through three of Escher’s most famous works. It was developed for a 1998 exhibition in the Netherlands, where, the site says, visitors stood for two hours to watch what can now be seen online: a vivid unraveling of how Escher fooled the eye by compressing multiple viewpoints into one.
- The World of Escher is a Texas company founded in 1993. It has a gallery, a bibliography and a few Escher quotations, and essays by and about him. It sells a lot of Escher stuff too.