Anne Desmet was born in Liverpool, UK, in 1964. She gained a BA & MA at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Printmaking at Central School of Art and Design, London, UK. She has taught wood engraving widely, inc. at the RA Schools, British Museum and Middlesex University and is a former External Examiner in Fine Art at Aberystwyth University and at Kingston College of Art. In 2011, Desmet was elected a member of the Royal Academy of Arts and is only the third wood engraver ever elected to the RA in its entire history. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers (RE) and the Society of Wood Engravers (SWE). In 2018, she was elected an Honorary Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford.
Anne’s retrospective exhibition, Anne Desmet: Towers and Transformations, opened in 1998 at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, before touring the UK. In 2008, Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery launched a new retrospective: Anne Desmet – Urban Evolution, which toured until 2010. Her exhibition: Anne Desmet – Olympic Metamorphoses toured the UK from 2010-12. Desmet’s prints feature in selected solo and group shows worldwide. Since 1987 she has received over 40 national and international awards including (1989-90) a British School at Rome Scholarship in Printmaking. She has had 20 solo shows in London since 1990.
Anne was editor of Printmaking Today (from 1998-2013) – the quarterly journal of international graphic art. She is author of Anne Desmet: A Greek Journey (2019) and Anne Desmet: An Italian Journey (2016). Anne is co-author of Handmade Prints (2000), author of Primary Prints (2010) and co-editor of Printmakers – the Directory (2006) all published by A&C Black (see Bloomsbury). Other publications include: Anne Desmet: Towers and Transformations – catalogue raisonné (Ashmolean Museum, 1998); Private Views: Artists working today (Serpent’s Tail, 2004); Wood Engraving and the Woodcut in Britain c.1890-1990 (Barrie & Jenkins, 1994); The Times, RA Magazine, Art Review, Art Monthly, Burlington, The Guardian and The New York Times.
Anne is curator/author of Scene through Wood: A Century of Modern Wood Engraving, an Ashmolean Museum touring exhibition with fully illustrated catalogue (2020).
Commissions include engravings and drawings for the Royal Mint, V&A, British Library, British Museum, National Gallery, Sotheby’s, The Times, Vital Arts (London) NHS Trust, Worcester College & Balliol College Oxford and Oxford University Press.
Public and private collections holding her work include the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; V&A, National Art Library, The Museum of London, British Museum, British Library, London Metropolitan Archive – all London; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; Pallant House, Chichester; Manchester University; School of Art & Museum, Aberystwyth Univeristy; University of the West of England; Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate; Bradford Museums & Art Galleries; Ex Libris Museum, Moscow, Russia; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Chamalières, France; Ostrobothnian Museum, Vaasa, Finland; Lahti Art Museum, Finland; Museu de Arte do Espirito Santo, Vitoria, Brazil; Municipal Art Gallery, Lodz, Poland; Museo Civico, Cremona, Italy; The National Grid PLC; Slaughter & May, London and IMG Corporate, New York, USA.