Jean-Gabriel Daragnès was highly regarded both as a printmaker especially of wood engravings and etchings and also as a master printer of other artists work. Daragnès was born in Bordeaux; his father was a carpenter. From 1900-1905 Daragnès was apprenticed to a silversmith as an engraver. In 1907, having completed his military service, Jean-Gabriel Daragnès went to Paris, dreaming of a life as a Bohemian painter in Montmartre. In order to survive, he took on all kinds of work, and soon turned from landscape painting to printmaking and the art of the book. Daragnès was not mobilised for WWI as he suffered from tuberculosis. After the war he wanted to found his own press.
By dint of selling everything he possessed, Daragnès raised enough money to build a house at 14, avenue Junot in Montmarte, to his own plans, with a printroom on the ground floor, a painting and printmaking studio on the first floor, and living quarters above. There Daragnés published some of the most beautiful books of the twentieth century, and also established a literary and artistic salon, whose members included Francis Carco, Pierre Mac Orlan, Colette, Léon-Paul Fargue, Noël Bureau, and Paul Valéry. It was Daragnès who taught Valéry the art of etching.