Stanley William Hayter Painter-Printmaker

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London - With works spanning all media, Bloomsbury Auctions are delighted to be celebrating the career of pioneering British Surrealist Stanley William Hayter (1901-1988), with the collection, Stanley William Hayter Painter-Printmaker on Wednesday 26th November during the sale of Modern & Contemporary British Art.

In one the largest and most extensive assemblages of Stanley William Hayter works to date, Bloomsbury Auctions are offering for sale 92 of his pieces, spanning paintings, drawings and prints. The auction comes after Conscience and Conflict: British Artists and the Spanish Civil War opened at Pallant House Gallery. The exhibition delves into the relationship between the Spanish Civil War and British Surrealist artists. It demonstrates how Hayter's Parisian studio, Atelier 17 was the epicentre of the European Surrealist movement, from which artists created works imbued with the political and social impact of War. Bloomsbury Auctions' Stanley William Hayter Painter6Printmaker auction builds on these themes by exploring Hayter's artistic output throughout his life. The pieces show an artist moulded by conflict and trace his technical development from an untrained Science graduate to one of the greatest and most influential printmaker's of the 20th century.

Alexander Hayter, International Head of Contemporary Art at Bloomsbury Auctions; "Hayter's interest in Jungian psychology and the concepts of the personal unconscious and automatism became vital to his creative output - allowing images from his subconscious to develop without conscious direction in front of him, be it on paper, canvas or copper plate. To him, whatever medium was to hand was the vehicle onto which he could project this stream of consciousness…it was all one work, one life-long artistic endeavour."

After graduating from King's College in Chemistry and Geology, Hayter joined the Anglo-Persian Oil company, working in Iran from 1922-25. Although removed from the artistic world, Hayter painted and drew portraits of his colleagues and in 1925, whilst recovering from malaria, he exhibited a collection of these works at the company's headquarters. It was the commercial success of this exhibition that saw Hayter turn his back on the oil industry and move to Paris to study and pursue a career in art.

This collection offered for auction tracks Hayter's artistic career through a natural evolution of his style. It opens with prints from his early years in Paris, that include Planche d'Etude, 1928-32,produced around the time he opened Atelier 17, a studio that would become a powerhouse of innovatory colour printing and attract the most famous of avant-garde artists working in Paris [Lot 2].

The horrors of the Spanish Civil War drove artists such as Kandinsky, Miro and Picasso to join Hayter at Atelier 17 to work on prints for two collaborative portfolios Fraternité and Solidarité. Prints from both of which can be found in the sale. Both portfolios were created to raise funds to support the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War [Lot 11 and 20].

With the outbreak of World War Two, Hayter moved to New York and undertook the role of teaching printmaking at the New School where he acted as an artistic catalyst, nurturing the next generation of artists in their rise to fame. Works from Hayter's early days in New York include a very rare group of three state proofs for Persistence of Life, that explore Hayter's artistic process [Lot 32] and his celebrated print Flight recognisable as the image used for the catalogue cover of the seminal Hayter and Studio 17 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1944 [Lot 38].

Hayter's studio became known for its highly experimental approach to print making. Influenced in part by Hayter's petro&45;chemical knowledge, it was here that the process of viscosity printing was developed.

This revolutionary technique produced works such as Maternite, Hayter's first colour print, which depicts his then wife, Helen Phillips cradling their new-born son Augy [Lot 21].

Hayter returned to Paris in 1950 where he continued to develop his viscocity technique until his death in 1988. His studio was a hub of activity and experimentation, filled with students from all over world, who had come to learn the skills which had been developed in collaboration with the most famous artists of the 20th century.

Hayter's ground-breaking prints, offered in the sale, are interspersed with larger scale paintings spanning a variety of media. Highlights include Untitled, 1946, [Lot 49] and Ceres, 1948 [Lot 53].

The collection explores the diverse and experimental career of the most complex printmaker of the 20th century, an innovator who developed ground-breaking techniques and who is often bizarrely overlooked.


Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions are a UK 'top 5' auctioneer of fine art and collectibles. As part of Stanley Gibbons we are the only UK stock-exchange listed firm of auctioneers and occupy the same stable as coin specialists Baldwin's, and Frasers Autograph's. Established in 1759, we have the broadest and most regular calendar of specialist catalogued sales in the industry, numbering over 150 per annum, and provide vendors and buyers alike access to market-leading specialist advice in any number of collecting fields. We operate from salerooms in Donnington Priory (near Newbury), London's Mayfair, Bristol and Godalming.

London - 18th November 2014