The Graphic Universe of Érik Desmazières
Fitch-Febvrel Press Release, 5 East 57 Street, New York, NY, August 3, 2004
Fitch-Febvrel Gallery is pleased to announce the opening on 18 September, 2004, at the Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam, of The Graphic Universe of Érik Desmazières, a retrospective of this internationally esteemed French artist. Extended through 16 January, 2005 the exhibition features a selection of over 60 etchings, including a series of Amsterdam views commissioned for the occasion. The Hercules Seghers Foundation has published a monograph combined with a catalogue of works shown, the first substantial critical study of the artist, written collaboratively by Museum Director Ed de Heer and Curator Bob van den Boogert. A public museum since 1911, the Rembrandt House has in recent years undertaken a program to collect and exhibit outstanding contemporary artists working in the grand printmaking tradition exemplified by their namesake.
With exceptional draftsmanship, Desmazières (b. 1948) depicts subjects ranging from the fantastic, such as his "Bibliothèque de Babel" series (1997-98) illustrating the novella by Borges and quickly spoken for by institutions and collectors, to cityscapes and interiors rendered with masterful use of space and perspective, such as "Le Temple dans la jungle" (1973), "Intérieur, rue Payenne" (1986), the suite "Passages Parisiens" (1988-91) and "La Salle Labrouste de la Bibliothèque nationale" (2001). Described as "arguably the finest French printmaker of his generation" by Robert Flynn Johnson (curator of San Francisco's Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts), Desmazières has, according to Maxime Préaud (Conservateur général, Département des estampes de la Bibliothèque nationale), "achieved perfect mastery of his art...". Since his first individual exhibition thirty years ago at Galerie Bernier in Paris, the artist has been widely shown in Europe, Japan and North America. Fitch-Febvrel Gallery, publisher of his catalogue raisonné (three volumes to date), held Desmazières' first U.S. exhibition in 1978.
That same year, Desmazières received the distinguished Grand Prix des Arts de la Ville de Paris, and in 1980 he was elected to the historically prestigious Société des Peintres Graveurs Français. More than thirty public collections worldwide have purchased Desmazières' prints, including the Bibliothèque nationale, the British Museum, the Rijksmuseum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Library of Congress.