STANLEY WILLIAM HAYTER, MEDUSE, 1958
Published by: Atelier 17
This is an extremely rare, poignant, early color etching by influential S.W. Hayter, legendary for his technical innovations in printmaking. Among the artists Hayter was credited with influencing were Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko. This work is numbered 10 from the very small edition of only 50. It was actually created at the legendary Atelier 17, where Hayter made his greatest print innovations. Also what's notable is that only editions 1 through 10 were printed in 1958; the rest were done later. And as Hayter collectors know, his early prints are far more desirable and valuable than the later ones. In the foreword to the catalogue that accompanied a Hayter print retrospective at La Tortue Gallery, featuring this work, Bryan Robertson, former director of London's Whitechapel Gallery wrote:
"Hayter, working always with maximum flexibility in painting, drawing, engraving and collage, has invented some of the most central and significant images of this century before most of the other artists of his generation. He is an originator, and it is a sign of this artist's vitality and youthfulness that he has never bothered to put on the mantle of elder statesman which he has an indisputable right to wear....."
More about the present piece: a poignant, scarce work from the height of Abstract Expressionism. The Medusa Galaxy was discovered around 1955 and it is probable that Hayter named the print after this, with its mythic and cosmic implications. This pencil signed color engraving is numbered from a small edition of only 50. There are very few left of these in the world, since many are in major museums already. It is signed numbered and titled on the bottom.
During WWII, as a member of the avant-garde living in exile in New York, Hayter's style moved toward Abstract Expressionism and he would famously influence Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock and many other American artists. This period coincided with his perfection of a revolutionary technique for multicolor printing on a single plate.
The high viscosity engraving offered here today is featured in Catalogue Raisonne Black/Moorhead 392. The Prints of Stanley William Hayter (Hardcover) by Peter Black (Author), Desiree Moorhead (Author).
This work was originally framed. It has been removed from the frame but is held in the original matting, with the original gallery price of $2600 penciled in, along with a label on the verso of the matting describing the work. The image itself is in excellent condition - a bright, bold impression. There is minor toning overall (called mat burn) around the area where it is matted, and the outer white margins, which are covered now by the matting, are unevenly cut -- which will of course all frame out. (see additional photos).
Pencil signed, titled and numbered from the edition of 50 (10/50), recto.
Literature: Catalogue Raisonne Black/Moorhead 392. The Prints of Stanley William Hayter (Hardcover) by Peter Black (Author), Desiree Moorhead (Author).