STANLEY WILLIAM HAYTERBritish 1901 - 1988


STANLEY WILLIAM HAYTERBritish 1901 - 1988

Stanley William Hayter is one of the more colourful figures in Modern British Art, equally well known for his importance as an educator and print maker as for his dynamic painting. Born in London, Hayter spent the vast majority of his career outside the country, particularly in Paris and New York. Although the son of a painter, Hayter took a degree in Chemistry at Kings College London and began a career at the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in Abadan in the early 1920s. By this time he had already begun experimenting with print making and in 1926 he left the company to study full time in Paris at the Academy Julian where his fellow students included Balthus and Calder.

By 1927 he had founded the influential Atelier 17 to research engraving. By 1940 he had relocated the Atelier to New York where Hayter lived until 1950 before relocating to Paris and re-establishing the Atelier there (the New York 'branch' continued until 1955). Hayter was an early member of the Surrealist group after an introduction to Tanguy and Masson in 1929, and was politically engaged. He designed camouflage for the Republican government in Spain in 1937 and in 1939 he collaborated on a print portfolio to aid the Spanish Republican Children's Fund. His early Surrealist works were often violent in their imagery and this was a direct response to the events in Spain and the rise of fascism in Europe.

His most recognisable work dates from after the work and is largely abstract. By the 1960s he had developed a fascination for waves after a prolonged period of experimentation with overlayered printing techniques. Our painting dates from the high water mark of this period, being almost Op-Art in its dazzling visual complexity.

Hayter exhibited throughout Europe and was widely published - in 1948 he wrote a book on Jankel Adler and in 1949 he published a book titled New Ways of the Gravure. He received the Legion d'Honneur in 1951 and major retrospective of his work was held at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1957. There was an Arts Council touring exhibition in 1958 which transferred to the Venice Biennale. The V&A Museum held a print retrospective in 1969 and a second print retrospective was held at the British Museum in 2001. Hayter died in Paris in 1988.