Hidden Worlds: Prints and Drawings by Erik Desmazières

  • BOSTON, Massachusetts
  • /
  • January 10, 2023

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L'Atelier de Louis Icart, 1980, Etching and aquatint, 23 1/2 x 16 1/2 inches

Hidden Worlds, a new exhibition of work by French master printmaker Erik Desmazières, journeys through the artist’s intricately detailed spaces, revealing imaginary cosmos and surrealist views of everyday scenes. With the meticulous draftsmanship of Old Masters like Dürer and Piranesi, Desmazières creates works that envision new worlds - images based both on the artist’s imagination and experiences. The exhibition highlights Desmazières’ early work, heavy with fantasy and science fiction leanings, and is supplemented by later uniquely cerebral views of Parisian rooftops, arcades, and ateliers. Hidden Worlds explores these complexly inviting spaces through prints and drawings that span Desmazières’ nearly six-decade career.


A copperplate etching revivalist working in the genre of Art Fantastique, Desmazières’ work plays with both tradition and progression. Combining the past, present, and future, the artist displays his mastery of world-building, producing images and views of people, places, and things that never were, but certainly feel as if they could have been. His uncanny attention to detail and hand for atmospheric light and shadow brings to life scenes in a variety of reoccurring motifs: cities and buildings, battles and warriors, libraries and letters, wonder chambers and curiosities, comedies and characters. With each, the artist envisions an imaginary world unto itself, all demanding of a longer look, a deeper investigation into the singular world he has created. It is as if something more, something exciting, something important is happening right outside the boundary of the artist’s plate.


Born in Rabat, Morocco in 1948 to a French diplomat, Erik Desmazières has been described as arguably the finest French printmaker of his generation. After graduating from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris in 1971, he turned his attentions towards the arts, having drawn since childhood. He subsequently studied printmaking at the Cours du Soir de la Ville de Paris. During his career Desmazières has received the Grand Prix des Arts de la Ville de Paris, and was elected to the Société des Peintres-Graveurs Français, where he has served as President since 2006. He continues to be a force in printmaking, with solo museum exhibitions throughout the world, including major shows in France, the Netherlands, the United States, and Japan. Hidden Worlds marks the fourth solo exhibition of Desmazières’ work at Childs Gallery.

Le déluge, 1981, Etching, 16 x 23 1/4 inches

Hidden Worlds: Prints and Drawings by Erik Desmazières is on view in the Childs Gallery print department January 6 through March 25, 2023.

Kathryn Fields
Childs Gallery

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