• HAYTER, Stanley William


  • Stanley William Hayter began as a painter of abstract watercolours, oil paintings and drawings. He was influenced by Joseph Hecht (1891-1951), an engraver working in Paris, and began working directly on the copper plate, without using acid (as in etching) or grain (as in aquatint). In 1927, in Paris, he opened a studio to teach etching and engraving, and in 1933 he moved to the premises by which his studio is known, Atelier 17, which he insisted was a workshop, not a proper teaching school. In the 1920s and 1930s Paris was a mecca for foreign artists, to whom the city was singularly unreceptive. The Ecole des Beaux-Arts was unwelcoming, the old ateliers libres were worn out, but Atelier 17 attracted foreigners because it was a free forum for discussion and experiment.

    In 1940 Hayter closed the workshop and went to California and then to New York, where he opened his New School. He returned tentatively to Paris in 1949, at first in the works of a commercial printer where he experimented in direct colour printing (monotypes). He closed the New York studio in 1955 and moved to the Atelier Ranson in Paris, where he printed largely for other artists, notably Picasso (e.g. for his illustrations to Buffon). His own work varies according to his experiments in technique, colour and varied styles, but leans towards the surreal and the abstract. He maintained the studio until his death, one of the last plates being of the disastrous Fastnet Yacht Race (1985).

    He was made an OBE in 1959, and a CBE in 1968. The roll-call of his pupils is a list of the best-known artists of the time. In Paris: Max Ernst, Giacometti, David Smith, Yves Tanguy, Vieira da Silva, and in New York: Alexander Calder, Chagall, Miro, Jackson Pollock and Paul Steinberg. His New Ways of Gravure (1949) and About Prints (1962) are now standard works.

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  • Source: The Penguin Dictionary of Art and Artists (Penguin Reference Books)