Atelier 17 and the Birth of Abstract Expressionism

Dominic Green at Literary Review:

The accelerated uptake of Surrealism in America followed the accelerated intake of Surrealist artists. By 1941, the arrival in New York City of émigrés like André Masson, Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst and the ‘Pope of Surrealism’ himself, André Breton, was precipitating what Darwent calls ‘one of the greatest cultural exchanges in modern history’. The full story is in Martica Sawin’s Surrealism in Exile and the Beginning of the New York School. Darwent’s book examines an often-overlooked channel of transmission, Atelier 17, and its founder, the English printer, painter and teacher Stanley William Hayter.

Born in 1901, Hayter went to Paris in 1926 and set up the first Atelier 17 there the following year. He worked with Picasso, Miró and Kandinsky on their printmaking. He also developed, Darwent writes, ‘the quixotic idea’ of reviving the burin, an ‘engraving tool with a mushroom-like handle at one end and a sword-sharp edge at the other’ once used by Dürer and Doré.

more here.