- Also known as
Stanley William Hayter
primary name: Hayter, Stanley William
- individual; printmaker; painter/draughtsman; British; Male
- Life dates
- Born in Hackney, London, Hayter studied chemistry and geology at King's College, London, and then worked for an oil company in Iran from 1922 to 1925. Deciding to become a painter, in 1926 he moved to Paris, where the Polish engraver Joseph Hecht introduced him to engraving. They shared a studio which, in 1927, became a printmaking workshop. In 1933 the workshop relocated to 17 rue Campagne-Première, from which address it took its name, 'Atelier 17'. It rapidly became a centre for experimental engraving, attracting many international artists during the 1930s, including the surrealists Max Ernst and Yves Tanguy, as well as Alberto Giacometti and Alexander Calder. Hayter's experiments with engraving, and with obtaining textures by pressing materials such as gauze onto the soft-ground plate, were highly influential in disseminating surrealist ideas of automatism and of the subconscious.
After the outbreak of the Second World War, Hayter left Paris for London and then moved to America in 1940. He first worked at the California School of Fine Arts before moving to New York, where he re-established Atelier 17 at the New School for Social Research, before it moved, in 1945, to larger premises at 41 East 8th Street. In New York, Atelier 17 became a focus for the émigré artists from Paris, such as Joan Miró, André Masson, Marc Chagall and Jacques Lipchitz, as well as for the younger generation of American artists like Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell and Willem de Kooning. In 1944 the printmaking activities of Atelier 17 were the focus of an exhibition, 'Hayter and Studio 17: New Directions in Gravure', at the Museum of Modern Art, which subsequently travelled the United States over the next two years. During the 1940s Hayter developed a method of making the first simultaneous intaglio and surface colour print, which he launched with Cinq Personnages (1946). Hayter's background in chemistry gave him an understanding of the different viscosities of the inks he was using. His innovative techniques were published in 1949 in his highly influential book, New Ways of Gravure, which was illustrated with the work of Atelier 17 artists.
In 1950 Hayter moved permanently back to Paris and reopened Atelier 17. The New York Atelier 17 continued to operate under a succession of printers, finally closing in 1955. Over the next three decades Hayter continued developing his colour intaglio technique, refining it to achieve various degrees of transparency and tonal modulation. He produced some 452 prints in the course of his long career.
The largest archive of Hayter's prints is at the British Museum, which holds more than four hundred impressions pulled between the early 1930s and 1960, including many trial proofs and states; the archive was purchased from the artist just before his death in 1988.
Peter Black and Désirée Moorhead, 'The Prints of Stanley William Hayter: A Complete Catalogue', London: Phaidon Press, 1992
S.W. Hayter, 'New Ways of Gravure', London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1949
Copies of correspondence between Hayter and Roger Vieillard and Julian Trevelyan are held on file in Prints and Drawings