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Michael Woolworth

Michael Woolworth Printmaker
Contact
French, English, Spanish
Hours:
Monday to Friday 09:30 - 19:00
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The joy of artistic collaboration

  • • Michael came to printmaking unexpectedly
  • • He is passionate about collaborating with artists
  • • All his work is done by hand, on 19th century machines.

Michael Woolworth arrived in Paris at the age of 19 and went in search of a summer job. He found one with a lithographer needing an extra pair of hands and began an apprenticeship that would change his life. “The context of the job was so beautiful; what could be better? The intimacy between artist and print is extremely fulfilling. I’ve never stopped working in this,” he says. He opened his own workshop in 1985 and was recognised as a master artisan in France in 2011. Today, Michael is both publisher and printer, with a studio that specialises in lithography as well as woodcuts, linocuts, monotypes, etchings and multiples.

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Works

  • © Michael Woolworth
  • © Michael Woolworth
  • © Michael Woolworth
  • © Jean-Michel Othoniel
  • © Michael Woolworth
Photo: © Michael Woolworth
Body Electric VI

To make this image, the Woolworth workshop introduced Swiss artist Gilgian Gelzer to an extremely demanding technique known as reduction woodcut, in which a print is produced in several colours from a single block. Preliminary trials, going back or making corrections, are completely impossible; artist and printer collaborate in a way that is intuitive but extremely precise. After a first drawing was carved into the board and printed in yellow, Gelzer carved back into the same board, which was then used to print on top in red, then repeated this process in successive, interlocking layers until a total of seven colours had been built up.

Height 124 cm
Width 100 cm

Michael Woolworth Printmaker
Photo: © Michael Woolworth
Cheval Blanc Poem

The first abstract prints of American artist Jim Dine were made in Michael Woolworth’s Parisian print workshop. For this image, Jim created a lexicon of shapes and cut out dozens of small wooden forms that were inked up, then placed spontaneously on the image in countless different ways, often backwards or upside down. Once a series of shapes was passed through the press, he reworked each proof manually, drawing, painting or even using power tools to create new marks and textures before running the print through the press again. This process, which continued for several months, led to a series of complex, audacious and expressive prints.

Height 170 cm
Width 124 cm

Michael Woolworth Printmaker
Photo: © Michael Woolworth
Confrontation

One of the most important painters on the French scene today, Marc Desgrandchamps, who has been working at Michael Woolworth's workshop since 2002, wanted to make the largest possible image in stone lithography, and to work in colour, which he had just begun to explore in printmaking. Playing with the notions of opacity and transparency, ghosts and shadows, the image Confrontation, produced in seven colours, was particularly challenging since Michael works exclusively on hand presses. This image was linked to the artist’s research for Fragments, an ambitious artist’s book produced at the workshop during the same period.

Height 164 cm
Width 124 cm

Michael Woolworth Printmaker
Photo: © Jean-Michel Othoniel
Rose du Louvre

The prominent French sculptor Jean-Michel Othoniel loves collaborating with artisans using ancient techniques, and has been working with Michael Woolworth for more than ten years. He asked here for something that seemed impossible: to pass a stretched canvas through the press to print on top of it, and the workshop invented an unorthodox technique to do just that. After several years of experimenting with the artist, they perfected an extremely delicate, time-consuming process involving covering the support with gold leaf, then transferring the drawing to a lithographic matrix and printing it on top of the gold in black ink, creating an intense luminosity. This is one of six images of flowers employing this technique on a large scale.

Height 164 cm
Width 124 cm

Michael Woolworth Printmaker
Photo: © Michael Woolworth
Experimental House for Marimekko

Irish artist Blaise Drummond explores the tenuous relationship between nature and culture. In this image, which depicts an experimental house in Finland built with prefab components, he combined woodcut and stone lithography to juxtapose the clean, sharp lines of the minimalist architecture with the delicate landscape around it. The image looks deceptively simple. Developed after several sessions devoted to discussing ideas and proposing and reworking image ideas, it combines many different types of marks; the light-blue windows, for example, were created with printmaking, but made to look like translucent graph paper.

Height 63 cm
Width 90 cm

Michael Woolworth Printmaker

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