Patricia Nik-Dad, whose family is of Iranian origin, grew up in Croissy-sur-Seine on the western outskirts of Paris. She graduated in drawing, painting and engraving from the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and subsequently studied at L’Academie Roederer. Nik-Dad specialises in miniature etchings, most often bookplates or ex libris, which almost always feature naked young women in a wide variety of activities, but she has also produced paintings, and in 2010 illustrated Lebanese writer, poet and journalist Joumana Haddad’s autobiographical short story Les amants ne devraient porter que des mocassins (Lovers Should Only Wear Moccasins), about the tangled and contradictory desires that arise for a woman balancing Arab and Western culture during an initiation evening in a Parisian swingers’ club.

Putting Nik-Dad in context, the art critic Bertrand Duplessis has written, ‘There are currently in France three main artistic styles seek to represent “the woman”. One derives from Francis Gruber, Bernard Buffet and Jean Jansem, where the woman is often ascetic, stiff, with an emaciated appearance. Then there is Léonor Fini, who favours mystery, silence, the question, the riddle. And then there is the work of Balthus, with his child-women, often exhibiting perverse or cruel instincts; following close in Balthus’s footsteps are the fine examples of Pierre Carron and Carron’s student Patricia Nik-Dad’.

An illustration from Les amants ne devraient porter que des mocassins.

In Nik-Dad’s work, the child-woman is queen. She is anatomically abnormally developed – the face is that of a ten-year-old girl, but the body, especially the breasts, are those of an adult; she often wears fishnet stockings, and her light bodice usually reveals her nipples. Her face and eyes are childish, but the lips are those of a woman.

Patricia Nik-Dad exhibits regularly, mostly in Paris but sometimes at specialist ex libris events outside the city. Her work has appeared at the Salon d’Automne, the Salon des Artistes Français, the Salon du Dessin et Peinture à L’eau, the Salon National des Beaux Arts, and the Fondation Taylor.

 

Example illustration