Atelier 17 was founded in 1927 by Stanley William
Hayter. Originally located in rue Moulin Vert, the atelier's
name was derived from its later location at 17 rue Campagne Premiere,
Paris, where Hayter settled in the beginning of the 1930's. The
atelier is best known for the many celebrated artists who worked
there and were encouraged by Hayter's insistence that printmaking
need not be simply a method of reproduction but rather was a
form of artistic creation. The artists of the atelier often worked
directly on the plate and were constantly seeking new experiences
In 1939 Atelier 17 suspended
its activities in Paris and moved to New York in 1940. There
it became an important meeting place for both European and American
artists. In 1950 Atelier 17 was reestablished in Paris. Upon
Hayter's death in 1988 the atelier, in tribute to its founder,
was renamed "Atelier Contrepoint."
Notable among the innovations
of Atelier 17 is the method of simultaneous color printmaking,
an etching technique involving several colors on the same plate,
It offers artists increased possibilities for experimentation
and innovation. Collaboration between experienced and novice
artists created a spirit of creative research. Each day an assistant
or collaborator/assistant helps and advises the artists. However
each works according to his own rhythm and creates his own personal
works of art.
This method, far from promoting
uniformity, awakens in each individual their own particular "song".
It welcomes discovery via practical experience by each
one wanting to get their hands dirty. It develops judgment at
the same time as vision; still allowing (because we are in an
environment which is used to confrontation) appearances and comparison.
This method is driven by achievement which has not been delivered
over to competition.
The achievement is not in the
production of a masterpiece, but in the revelation of what each
artist has conjured up, or obscured by their lack of expertise.
Which is to say, that each one makes their own discoveries in
this meeting with themselves -- a meeting to which others contribute
through their active presence and therefore at any moment one
can call upon other collaborators for their observations, help