The art of Erik Desmazières


La Place Désertée (1979).

Yet another French artist specialising in etchings with a focus on imaginary architecture. No dedicated website, unfortunately, so I’ve posted more images than usual. Of note is Desmazières’ illustrated edition (now out of print) of the Borges’ ficcione, The Library of Babel, published by Les Amis du Livre Contemporain in France and David R Godine in the US.

Erik Desmazières was born in Rabbat, Morocco, son of a French diplomat. He spent his childhood in Morcco, Portugal, and France. Desmazières studied at the Institute d’Etudes Politique, political science and took an evening art course at the Cours du Soir de la Ville. After graduation he decided to pursue a career as an artist.

Considered to be one of the finest printmakers of his generation, Desmazières was strongly influenced by artists such as Giovanni Piranesi and Jacques Callot. Erik Desmazières work is represented by galleries in Europe, the United States, and Japan and is collected by important museums worldwide.

Update: Erik Desmazières at


Exploration (1984).


Passage Choiseul (1990).


Terre Inconnue (1981).


Ville Souterraine (1982).


No title or date given.


Ville Imaginaire II (1998).


The Library of Babel (David R Godine edition, 2000).


The Library of Babel (1997).


The Library of Babel (1997).

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16 thoughts on “The art of Erik Desmazières”

  1. Hi, love this stuff and am slightly in awe… It reminds me in a strange way of th computer game myst, (particularly the Library of Babel stuff) inasmuch as I always think of Myst as less of a computer game and more of a ‘place to visit’ – the library images make me feel a little the same, not so much 2 dimenstional pictures, more of a place to visit and get lost in… wonderful…

  2. I swear I saw more of the library pictures somewhere a while ago but I can’t find them now. Interesting seeing how he elaborated on Borges’ conception of a monotonous?and endless?honeycomb of rooms.

    Curious the way so many French artists have have an interest in this kind of imagery.

    One of the Myst creators has a nice blog of his own here:

  3. Speaking of prints of libraries, have you come across Rolf Escher?

    (there’s a little more around: I posted a few links the other day/week)

    ps. Love Desmazières. Thanks! Appropriate you link to Trignac: that’s who I first thought about. My we have good taste!

  4. Oh, good find, I hadn’t seen this guy’s work before. He’s now bookmarked.

    This kind of work seems particularly Continental and I’m still not sure why that is. The French and Belgians are more accepting of fantasy in art which no doubt helps, here it’s always been regarded with suspicion. None of the current crop of internationally known British artists could be said to be possessed of much imagination.

  5. None of the current crop of internationally known British artists could be said to be possessed of much imagination.

    So you’re saying you’re not an international man of mystery then?
    ‘- )

  6. Well…the “man” part is correct… As I said elsewhere, if I wasn’t preoccupied with other things I’d probably be happy doing something very similar to Monsieur Trignac. But I’ve always been restless and enjoy working in different areas and media. I’m often envious of those who can stay put, it’s certainly better for your career!

  7. Your readers might be interested to know where they can see more recent work by Desmazières, and Trignac as well. We have represented both in the U.S. for decades. Desmazières is having three solo museum shows this year, in Pisa (current), Savannah (May-Oct) and Montreal (Sept)
    Andrew Fitch, Dir.

  8. The Art of Érik Desmazières speaks to the soul and past memories of our lives… Nobody can escape his labyrinthes and his Babel Towels trademarks of his works… His Prince of Thulé… his warriors or chiefs of wars wear coat of arms and helmets which are reminiscent of the Medicis’ s Era and they are androgynous, sensual and ambiguous in their quest of blood and tears like the Saint John of Da Vinci pointing with his fingers the sky for knowledge from above… Piranesi, Callot, Escher, Rembrandt, Folon, Goya, Franken… be proud… Desmazières is not a copist of your works, but one of you… a true master, a gentleman and an alchimist able to use the past and the present to foresee the future… and more
    Alexandre de Bothuri Bàthory

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