February to April 2021, The Musée des Beaux-arts of Rennes is currently working on an exhibition called Hayter’s Atelier 17: Towards a Free Print, showing his progressive workshop.
S.W. Hayter (London, 1901-Paris, 1988), painter and printmaker, created in Paris in 1927 what became internationally known as Atelier 17. In this studio, Hayter conceived and visualized many projects in relation to France and the United States. During his career, he also revived intaglio techniques (etching, engravîng, and dry-point) and developed new methods such as simultaneous color printing. Atelier 17 became a space marked by collaboration and a free exchange of ideas between France and the United States. Atelier 17 was a convergence point for different generations of avant-garde movements. Surrealism, Abstraction, and Expressionism will be strongly displayed in the exhibition. Atelier 17 allowed surrealist artists who had followed André Breton in exile to discover new ways of printing. A generation of emerging artists like Jackson Pollock, Louise Nevelson, and Robert Motherwell learned with Hayter how intaglio could become an innovative and creative technique of creation, copper-plate being an independent support for creation without the need of a prior picture. Printmaking became essential to the development of gestural abstraction in America. In 1940, Hayter moved to New York City and opened a second Atelier 17 for ten years. The place was a middle ground and a center of communication for a generation of well-known European artists as well as young and emerging American artists.