We enjoyed a recent visit with artist Ellen (Abbey) Countey. Ellen was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1923 and studied with William Zorach at the Art Students League. She is the model for Zorach’s 1942 marble bust, Quest, now at the Wichita Art Museum. Ellen made the complex and beautiful engraving, Scattered Journey, in 1946 in New York at Atelier 17. It came to us from Stanley William Hayter’s private collection of works by friends and artists who worked at Atelier 17, which is where Ellen met her husband, Edward Countey. The Counteys remained in contact with Hayter and Ellen made more engravings at Atelier 17 in Paris in June of 1986. It was there she met Margo Dolan and Peter Maxwell while they were visiting Hayter’s studio. A few months later Ellen wrote asking about our Joseph Hecht (1891-1951) catalog. Hecht introduced Hayter to engraving and they remained close throughout Hecht’s life.
Edward Countey (1921-1984), studied with Moses Soyer at the New School of Art in New York from 1938-42. He served in the US Army Signal Photographic Corps in New Guinea in 1942-45. Countey received a 3 year fellowship to study with Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17 in New York shortly after his return. He assisted Hayter and Jess Paley in producing the educational film, “New Ways of Gravure” and he drew the animated film, “Attack”, for the Signal Corp. “Attack” is part of film collection at MOMA. Countey’s engravings were exhibited internationally with a show organized from MOMA’s collection and had two solo exhibitions in New York. He later taught at SUNY Stony Brook in the engineering Department and subsequently in the Department of Art. Countey’s Paw Paw, 1949, is a large and ambitious work with engraving, etching and stenciled color. An impression was acquired by MOMA in 1949 and it was included in MOMA’s exhibition, “Some American Prints, 1945-50”. Our impression also belonged to Hayter, as did Countey’s Apollo.
One of the great joys of what we do is sharing the stories that are behind the works of art.