Stanley William Hayter (1901-1988), known primarily for printmaking, is an important British artist and pioneering figure of American modernism. Associated with the Surrealist and Abstract Expressionist movements, he invented innovative printmaking techniques, including intaglio and surface color printing, and established Atelier 17, a famous workshop that spurred revolutionary and important practices in printmaking for more than three decades. Hayter’s work, under the influence of the Surrealist principle of automatism, is characterized by a swirling cursive line, which creates a sense of space and movement.
Trained as a geologist and chemist, Hayter went to paris in 1926 to pursue his artistic career. After working at the Académie Julian for six months, he made his first drypoints, including “Rue les Plantes,” which depicted Parisian streets. At this time, Hayter came into contact with Joseph Hecht, whose work inspired him to pursue engraving. In 1927, Hayter established a studio practice devoted to experimental and cooperative printmaking. He was joined by such artists as Miró, Arp, Tanguy, Picasso, Chagall, and Calder. When the studio moved in 1933, it adopted its now-famous rubric, “Atelier 17” after its new street address at 17, later becoming Atelier Contrepoint after Hayter’s death.
His work has been included in important exhibitions and retrospectives at Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Fine Art; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Barbara; Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro; 1958 Venice Biennale; Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, Brussels, Zurich; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Liège; Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Geneva; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Smithsonian Institute, DC; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; Ashmolean Museum Oxford; and Royal Academy, London.