Joseph Demarais Biography

Joseph Demarais




Printmaker, sculptor, and educator Joseph Demarais was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1927. He first intended to become a jazz musician, playing with the U.S. Army band during World War II and earning his master's degree in music theory in 1948. However, by the late 1950s he had turned his attention to art, and in 1960 he enrolled in art courses at Miami Univeristy, Ohio.

The bulk of his oeuvre was created between 1964 and his death in 1971 at age 44. In that brief time, he developed an influential process for creating dimensional intaglio-relief prints, building up the surface of the zinc, copper, acetate, and masonite matrices to create deeply textured imagery. He exhibited in over 100 exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe. He died of heart complications in New York, NY, in 1971.

The U.S. Department of State includes a biography of Demarais' life on their website. It reads in part: "As a teenager, Demarais was interested in art and music, playing jazz trumpet across the Hudson River and Greenwich Village, New York. He served in the United States military during World War II, performing with the army band throughout Europe until his discharge in 1947. Demarais received a master’s degree in music theory and music education in 1948. After resigning as head of the music department at a New York state high school, he decided to pursue art and attended Miami University, Ohio, in 1960, receiving accolades for his early work in sculpture and ceramics. Demarais taught art for two years at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York and then printmaking in 1965 at Trenton State College in New Jersey. Public collections of his works are in museums worldwide, including the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, both in Washington, D.C.; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Yale Art Museum, New Haven, Connecticut; and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England."