Lines: Atelier 17, the art of the print and Canadian modernism
Suzanne Bailey’s SSHRC-funded project explores the impact of the studio of Stanley William Hayter (1901-1988) as a site of experimentation centred on burin engraving and other forms of intaglio printmaking. From its initial location among artists’ studios in Montparnasse, and later at other venues, Atelier 17 served as a dynamic professional space in which artists had opportunities to work within the frame of a larger, always shifting collective enterprise. Here, throughout the different phases of Hayter’s career as a printmaker, his particular inflection of surrealism and what might be termed a philosophy of the line came into contact with, formed, and was refashioned among a strikingly heterogeneous group of individuals. This project studies Canadian artists who travelled to Atelier 17 to work with Hayter, documenting their motivations for travel and the impact of working at a studio at which some of the most distinguished modernist artists produced prints, from Picasso to Chagall.
It will map Hayter’s theoretical work, emphasizing the artist’s engagement with the line and with other physical and tactile qualities of print production. It will align this work with accounts of artistic practice from Canadian artists, including indigenous artists in Cape Dorset, against which Hayter’s assertions about the medium will be tested. The study will draw also attention to the little-known connection between Hayter and the genesis of Cape Dorset printmaking, by studying records of James Houston’s work at Atelier 17 in Paris and by undertaking interviews with indigenous artists associated with early Cape Dorset printmaking in Nunavut.
Suzanne Bailey has recently begun a study of the works of Canadian printmaker Jennifer Dickson, focusing on her time in Stanley William Hayter’s studio, Atelier 17 (Paris, 1960-65).