Atelier Contrepoint is best defined as an experimental etching studio frequented by artists and students from all corners of the world. A place of exchange and apprenticeship, it follows in the tradition of Atelier 17 (rue Moulin Vert) founded in 1927 by Stanley William Hayter. The name was derived from its 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 work directly on the plate and are constantly seeking new experiences and techniques.
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." It is directed by Juan Valladares and Hector Saunier.
The method of simultaneous color printmaking, an etching technique involving several colors on the same plate, offers increased possibilities for experimentation and innovation. Collaboration between experienced and novice artists creates 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 and advice.
Atelier Contrepoint is open (8:00AM - 1:00PM and 2:00PM - 7:00PM) every day except Sunday.
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