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One of Hayter’s most important black-and-white prints of the 1940s, this work is a companion piece to his 1943 Tarantelle. Both prints feature a figure twisting and turning around a central axis. The distorted forms recall Hayter’s earlier apocalyptical subjects and Pablo Picasso’s portraits of Dora Maar and Spanish Civil War-inspired imagery.

Although Hayter retains certain recognizable features of the Amazon (a female warrior from Greek mythology) such as her single breast (the other was said to have been cut off to making shooting a bow easier), his primary interest seems to be in the aesthetic qualities of the line itself. He practiced a technique associated with the Surrealists, where the artist draws a continuous line without removing the pen (or engraving burin) from the surface. Meant to capture the subconscious, this “automatic” drawing produces a free-flowing, sinuous line that moves “randomly” across the sheet.

Stanley William Hayter
English, 1901–1988
Amazon
1945
Engraving, scorper, and soft-ground etching on paper
Image: 24 7/16 x 15 7/8 in. (62.1 x 40.3 cm); sheet: 29 5/8 x 19 3/4 in. (75.2 x 50.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 79.66

Large image not available.