Artwork Description / Detail
S. W. (Stanley William) Hayter (1901-1988) was born in Hackney, London, the son of a painter. After receiving a degree in chemistry and geology from King’s College London, he worked in Iran for the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. After returning home in 1925 he held a successful exhibition of the paintings and drawings he had produced while overseas, and this is likely to have convinced him to pursue a career as an artist.
In 1926, Hayter went to Paris, studying briefly at the Académie Julian. He was introduced to
copper engraving using the traditional burin technique, and in 1927 he opened the studio which would become internationally known as Atelier 17. The studio was attended by many distinguished artists – including Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko – and Hayter became one of the most important figures in the 20th-century revival of the print as an independent art form.
Hayter was a prolific printmaker, completing more than 400 works in the medium before his death.
His etchings were influenced by the abstract aspects of Surrealism, and notable for their experimentation with texture and colour. He was equally active as a painter, and also wrote two influential books, New Ways of Gravure (1949) and About Prints (1962).
In 1951 Hayter was appointed an OBE, Officer of the Order of the British Empire (elevated to a CBE,
Commander of the Order of the British Empire, in 1968), while the French Government awarded him the Légion d’honneur. In 1958 Hayter was Great Britain’s representative artist at the Venice Biennale.
- Richard Wolfe