THEME : Engravings and Prints

M'Hamed Issiakhem

Catalogue Raisonné

A Complete Artist

M’Hamed Issiakhem joined the Algiers School of Fine Arts in 1947 at the age of 19. His gift for drawing and his multidisciplinary skills in graphic arts were quickly noticed by his teachers

Together with other students from the Algiers School of Fine Arts, he was invited to make two of the eighteen engravings for the prints printed in the book “ALGIERS – 18 intaglio engravings executed by the engraving workshop” published in 1950.

At the age of twenty, M’Hamed Issiakhem will have the double privilege of inaugurating the book with a first engraving at the head of the book «The door of the museum Stephan Gsell».

As well as to realize a demanding board «The Arab house».

This multidisciplinary graphic art technique requires the mastery of drawing and engraving on metal plate. Plate intended to be printed on paper and constitute a print.

The first step in this process is a drawing, a field in which the painter excelled. In this regard, Mohamed Louïl, his classmate in the fine arts of Algiers, evoked it with these words:

“Bersier, our engraving teacher, recommended that we do the sketch from life on a sheet, correct it, place it on the metal plate and engrave it. But Issiakhem himself, scraping quickly and directly the drawing on the varnished plate, made use of his fantasy and his know-how. Bersier and we all admired his great capacity for application and spontaneity »

The second step is to scratch the pattern on a copper or zinc plate. Zinc being cheaper and easier to work, it was preferred at that time..

The following plate was made by the painter. Its complexity suggests what George Mercais mentioned in the preface of the book quoted above “It even seems that the demands of a technique that is not painstakingly acquired, of a craft that is not improvised, have preserved in this art of drawing a probity, an outfit that painting often does not care about.

With the «pain» mentioned in the previous preface, it is useful to recall that M’Hamed Issiakhem had lost his left arm in adolescence (see Biography). 

Once this engraving is done on the metal plate, considering that it is zinc, it is covered with ink and then cleared of the surplus.

Finally comes the printing to the press. The engraved plate is thus applied on a thick cotton sheet, enough to marry the shapes, sometimes thin, which are engraved.

The final result in the form of a limited edition print.

M’Hamed Issiakhem will use this particular drawing technique in the realization of banknotes, stamps and many other pen works. The next work made much later is a masterful illustration.

His close observation reveals thousands of parallel and intersecting lines, bringing out by their colors and density the contours and shadows, which give the character and the patterns relief and expression. What is here a remarkable technical achievement, was already found in the work of 1950 quoted above. The Arab house also emerges from this intersection of parallel lines, except that the result of then emanates from a plate on which the drawing will be engraved. At the difficulty of execution of the drawing made at the School of Fine Arts of Algiers, we must imagine the time necessary to engrave it patiently with one arm. M’Hamed Issiakhem had to find it easier to execute it directly on the plate, which Mohamed Louïl will refer to above

The work on characters drawn with pen constituted an early search in the fifties. The following drawing preserves a rare and precious trace for the Issiakhem fund. 

To this technique he will superimpose painting on it. Works that we consider at the Issiakhem Fund as masterpieces in three respects. The emotion, which brings us back to the eternal quest of M’Hamed Issiakhem; to exhume the soul of his people by going to draw from his gaze « this rich history, a thousand-year history » M.Issiakhem. Emotion passed, arrives the represented subject and the rich motifs that surround it. And finally, the technical virtuosity in the execution of this set. Virtuosity that alone would be enough to give a significant intrinsic value to the work.

If he expressed at twenty years an indisputable gift, it is by a work and a relentless quest for perfection that he will later turn it into masterpieces at the crossroads of engraving and painting. Works with unparalleled Algerian motifs

Contact :


1949      Exposition, Galerie Carrot (Alger).

1951      Exposition, Galerie André Maurice (Paris).

1955      « Festival Mondial de la Jeunesse et des Etudiants » (Varsovie).

1955      « Salon des Peintres Nord-Africains » (Paris).

1959      Exposition, Galerie Donilstraz (Leipzig).allemagne

1960 – (fév.)       Exposition collective, Club des Quatre vents (Paris).

1963 – (1/11)      Exposition « Peintres Algériens », Salle Ibn-Khaldoun (Alger).

1964 – (15-30/4)               Exposition « Peintres Algériens », Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Paris).

1964 – (Juin)       « ler Salon UNAP », Galerie UNAP (Alger).

1965 – (nov.)      Exposition « Jeune Peinture Algérienne », Salle Ibn-Khaldoun (Alger).

1967      Exposition collective (Alger).

1967 – (21-26/11)            Exposition collective, Galerie Municipale des Arts (Tunis).

1967 – (17/4)      « Création du Groupe de la Jeune Peinture Algérienne », Galerie Feraoun (Alger).

1969 – (19-30/4)               « 1ère Rétrospective », Studios de l’ONCIC (Alger).

1969      Exposition collective (Sofia).

1969 – (juillet.)   « Festival Panafricain » (Alger).

1969 – (nov.)      Exposition collective, MNBA (Alger).

1974 – (nov.)      Exposition collective, MNBA (Alger).

1974 – (1-15/5)  Exposition, Maison du Peuple (Alger).

1974 – (nov.)      Exposition « L’Art et la Révolution (Alger).

1974 – (1/11)      « 2ème Salon de l’UNAP », Galerie UNAP (Alger).

1976 – (30/4-15/5)           Exposition collective, Salle El Mouggar (Alger).

1979 – (27/10-5/11)        Exposition collective, Maison du Peuple (Alger).

1982 – (28/4-7/5)             Exposition, Hôtel Aurassi (Alger).

1983      « Exposition Internationale » (Sofia).

1983 – (janv.)      Exposition « Dix ans de Peinture Algérienne », MNBA (Alger).

1983 – (mars)     Exposition collective, Galerie Yak (Tunis).

1983 – (15-30/9)               Exposition collective, Foire Internationale (Alger)

1983 – (10-22/1 1)           Exposition « Novembre », CCWA (Alger).

1984 – (Fév)        « Exposition d’Art Moderne », CCWA (Alger).

1984 – (28/3-l 1/4)          Exposition collective, Cent Culturel Italien (Alger).

1984 – (4/9-30/1l)            « L’Art et la Révolution Algérienne MNBA (Alger).

1984 – (20/9)      « 2ème Salon de la Peinture Méditerranéenne », Galerie El Kettani (Alger).

1984 – (29/10-29/11)      Exposition, Galerie Xen (Alger).

1985 – (1-10/7)  Exposition, Musée Sidi Bou Saïd (Tunisie).

1986 – (30/6-6/7)             « Exposition Hommage » (Bédjaïa).

1986 – (1-28/2)  « Peinture Algérienne Contemporaine Palais de la Culture (Alger).

1986 – (25/2-13/3)           Exposition « Algérie, Peinture des années 80 », CNAP (Paris).

1986 – (3/5-4/6)               « Rétrospective commémorative MNBA (Alger).

1986 – (4/5-3/6)               « Exposition Issiakhem », Galerie Issiakhem (Alger).

1986 – (11-26/6)               « Exposition Hommage », Musée Zabana (Oran).

1986 – (20/9-10/10)        « Exposition Hommage », CCWA (AIger).

1987 – (5/7-5/8)               Exposition Collective, Galerie Issiakhem (Alger).

1987 -(24/12-4/1/88)     Exposition « Expressions multiples », MAAO (Paris).

1988 – (1-15/6)  « Exposition Hommage à Issiakhem’ Galerie El Mouggar (Alger).

1989 – (8-20/4)  « Hommage à Issiakhem », Galerie El Mouggar (Alger).

1989 – (17/6)      « Hommage à Issiakhem » (Azzefoun).

1989 – (oct.)       « Journées Culturelles Algériennes (Moscou).

1989 – (nov.)      « Peinture algérienne Contemporaine » MNBA (Alger).

1990 – (10-21/1) »Exposition Hommage à Kateb Yacine et M’Hamed lssiakhem », Galerie du Lucernaire (Paris).

1990 – (déc.)       « Hommage à M’Hamed Issiakhem », Maison de la Culture (Tizi-Ouzou).

1991 – (nov.)      « Hommage à Issiakhem », Maison de la Culture (Constantine).

1994 – (3-27/2)  Exposition « Les traces de l’épreuve », CCA (Paris).

1994 – (18/5)      Exposition « Les Peintres saluent Kateb Yacine », CCA (Paris).

1994 – (28/10-28/11)      « Panorama de la Peinture Algérienne », Palais de la Culture, Galeries Racim-lsma-Fanon (Alger).

1995 – (Avril)      « La poésie dans un jardin », Centre Européen de poésie (Avignon).

1996 – (23-30/4) Exposition « Dix ans de Peinture algérienne », Galerie Isma (Alger).

2005 Hommage  à Issiakhem 1985 2005 MNBA  Alger

2006 Hommage à Issiakhem et Zemirli maison de la culture de Tizi ouzou

2007 Hommage à Issiakhem  ville de Relizane

2007 Les doyens de la peinture algerienne UNAC

2007 Hommage à Issiakhem ville de cherchel  UNAC


1ere grande expo d’art contemporain dans le village natal