Atelier René Tazé V
Erik Desmazières (French, born in 1948)
Platemark: 65.4 x 50.2 cm (25 3/4 x 19 3/4 in.) Sheet: 56.7 x 76 cm (22 5/16 x 29 15/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Etching, aquatint, and roulette, printed with an additional tone plate in blue ink
Not On View
Erik Desmazières was born in 1948 in Rabat, Morocco, and lived there until the age of twelve. He began to draw as a boy and yearned to be an artist. To satisfy his parents’ desire that he make himself employable, he studied at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris. Immediately after graduating in 1971, he enrolled in an evening course on drawing. Seeing his talent, a friend suggested that he make prints. Knowing nothing of printmaking techniques, he turned to artist Jean Delpech from whom he learned the rudiments. Continuing to explore printmaking and draughtsmanship with little instruction, Desmazières essentially developed as a self-taught artist. His teachers are the great masters of the history of graphic arts. He plunders the work of artists such as Jacques Callot, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, and M. C. Escher. Some of his prints directly reinterpret theirs; others are completely original while remaining grounded in tradition. Desmazières has an uncanny knack for imparting a slightly fantastic twist to seemingly straightforward imagery. While his work has Escher’s precision of line, it moves beyond mathematical exercise because he fills his inventions with evocative atmosphere à la Piranesi. Desmazières’s oeuvre now comprises some two hundred etchings.
In his early work, Desmazières treated etching as means to reproduce his drawings, but as his appreciation for and mastery of printmaking techniques increased, he realized the potential for making works of art that combine precision, atmosphere, tonal depth, and luminosity. Using etching, aquatint, and roulette, he came to produce works that are both bold in their graphic impact yet delicate in their nuanced tonality. “Atelier René Tazé V” is such a work. It belongs to a series of studies showing the studio of Desmazières’ printer. The press–a symphony of curves and angles–appears prominently in the foreground. Mundane details of everyday life, such as a water heater and an umbrella, intriguing for their unguarded intimacy, fill the background. The present impression is printed with an additional tone plate inked in blue, producing an eerie nighttime effect similar to that of a solarized photograph.
Signed and dated lower right in graphite pencil: Erik Desmazières 1993
Lower left in graphite pencil: 16/75
Lower center in graphite pencil: Atelier René Tazé V
Childs Gallery (Boston); from which puchased by MFA, 20 September 2006.
Lee M. Friedman Fund
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.