Claire Falkenstein (American, 1908-1997) initially met Stanley William Hayter when he visited the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1935. They renewed their acquaintance when she lived in Paris and worked at the re-established Atelier 17 in the early 1950s.
Falkenstein brought an independent approach to the Hayter’s experimental workshop, dispensing with convention of merely engraving or etching an image into the plate. Instead she cut and soldered scrap metal shapes to build relief matrices, bringing her own sense of structure and form to the print making process. The metal constructions were then daubed with ink and sent them through the press with sheets of dampened hand-made linen paper. The sheets are heavily embossed, creating a bas relief that goes so far as to puncture the sheet. These collagraphs are called Struttura Grafica and are signed, dated and annotated épreuve d’artiste. They come to us from Hayter’s own collection. We are indebted to David Acton’s book, The Stamp of Impulse: Abstract Expressionist Prints for insight and explanation of these rare and important works.