Érik Desmazières printmaker | René Tazé printer An artistic collaboration 1978-2018
Texts by Alain Madeleine-Perdrillat
This book is a tribute by a leading contemporary graphic artist to his intaglio printer.
Erik Desmazières’s first love was drawing and he began engraving in the Ville de Paris studios from 1971. René Tazé joined the Leblanc studio, a famous and ancient Parisian intaglio printer’s workshop in 1969. It was here, on Rue Saint-Jacques, the printers’ quarter since the seventeenth century, where they met: in this corner of Paris imbued with history.
In the spring of 1978, René Tazé opened his own studio at 11 Rue Hittorf, by the side of the town hall in the tenth arrondissement in Paris. The printer and the artist then established a professional bond that has lasted up to the present day. During the four decades of their work together, they have made over 200 prints and no fewer than 20,000 proofs in various formats; their preparation benefited greatly from the skill and noteworthy talent of René Tazé, who was awarded the title of Maître d’Artin 2006.
While René Tazé made the prints, Erik Desmazières began to draw his surroundings, of which he was much inspired. The result was a set of seven large engravings made from 1979 onwards depicting the studio and its wonderful machines from different angles. The place, with its glass roofs, glass partitions, presses, and dilapidated appearance, was inspirational for the artist.
In 2006, René Tazé was forced to leave his studio, which was to be demolished. He moved to a studio in Villa du Lavoir, near Porte Saint-Martin, not far from where he worked previously. The new studio was far more “modern” and more maze-like, but just as inspiring and gave rise to an engraving of the studio just before its conversion: Atelier René Tazé VIII, 2018. The renovated studio offered the engraver the chance to make a new work of the space, which had a completely different layout: Atelier René Tazé IX.
This book is published to coincide with the exhibition to be held at Galerie Documents 15, Rue de l’Échaudé, in Paris, in Spring 2019. It includes all the drawings, engravings, and proofs, enhanced by the addition of colour, showing the full series of studios, right up to the present one. It also enables the reader to explore one of the very last remaining studios still operating in Paris and to admire the exemplary and trusting collaboration between an artist and his printer, who today works with two young collaborators, Bérengère Lipreau and Domitille Araï.
The book offers a preface by the art historian Alain Madeleine-Perdrillat and covers all the works published by the Musée Carnavalet in its catalogue for the Paris à grands traits exhibition in 2006–07, which is now out of print.
Alain Madeleine-Perdrillat is an art historian and was born in Paris in 1949. For many years he worked at Réunion de musées nationnaux, then at the Institut national d’histoire de l’art. He has written a monograph on Seurat (Skira, 1990), a study of Nicolas de Staël(Hazan, 2003), and essays on various writers, poets, and painters. He has also translated several works by Roberto Longhi, The Life of a Painter, by Gino Severini (Hazan, 2011), and recently The Originality of Thomas Jones by Lawrence Gowing (Fage editions, 2017).