An American-born publisher and printer based in Paris, Michael Woolworth established his atelier in 1985. The shop specializes in lithography techniques as well as woodcuts, linocuts, monotypes, etchings and multiples, all exclusively on hand presses. Michael Woolworth Publications produces its own editions throughout the year and organizes events in galleries, museums, bookstores, art fairs as well as in the print shop.
In 2011, Michael Woolworth received the title Chevalier dans l’ordre des arts et des lettres by the French culture ministry. That same year, he was honored by the French government with the title of Maître d’art and in 2012, recognized as part of France’s “living heritage” (EPV, or Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant). Since 2008, Julien Torhy, a printer trained at the École supérieure des beaux-arts de Cornouaille in Quimper, France, has been a full-time collaborator. In 2015, he co-founded with Sylvie Boulanger, director of CNEAI, the art fair MAD (Multiple Art Days) in Paris to promote activity of contemporary artists in edition making. Each year around 100 publishers come to MAD to show their new projects.
The First Years: 1979 - 1985
Shortly after his arrival in Paris in 1979, Michael Woolworth met Franck Bordas (grandson of lithographer Fernand Mourlot), who had just opened up his own lithography shop. He worked there for six years, first as an assistant and then as partner, working with such artists as Roberto Matta, Jean Dubuffet, Gilles Aillaud, Jorge Camacho, Henri Cueco, Erró, Daniel Pommereulle, Hervé Di Rosa, Jean Messagier, François Boisrond and Guy Rougemont. They went through three addresses. First, 4 rue des Guillemites, 75004, then 192, rue de Clignancourt, 75018, to finish at 7, rue Princesse, 75006, all in Paris.
The First Atelier On The Île Saint Louis:
1985 - 2000
In 1985, he opened his own print shop on the Île Saint Louis. His first project, with the Surrealist Matta, consisted of 90 scenes from Cervantes’ Don Quixote. He continued collaborations with Daniel Pommereulle and Jorge Camacho and invited several new artists to work at the shop including Americans William MacKendree and Marc Marder, a composer; Austrian Gunter Damisch, and numerous French artists: Hyperrealist Claude Yvel, Figuration Libre artist Rémi Blanchard, abstract painters Frédérique Lucien, Stéphane Bordarier, Jean-François Maurige and Pierre Mabille, and Arman, with whom he made the 1997 book Afrikan Matricule, a poem by Joseph Guglielmi with 26 original lithographs.
Over time, the workshop developed into a kind of laboratory for creation, constantly reinventing the art of printmaking. He began publishing several Spanish artists: José Manuel Broto, Miguel Ángel Campano, Jaume Plensa, and started a close collaboration with José Maria Sicilia, with whom he has published over 200 editions, including You’re Alone (1992), an artist’s book with lithographs dipped in beeswax and sewn together with thread; En Flor (1999‑2000), monumental prints made from pressing fresh flowers onto paper; and Le livre des mille et une nuits (1997‑98), turning a 1910 French edition of A Thousand and One Nights into a series of books printed on its pages and on sheets of translucent Japanese paper inserted into the volumes.
The shop was initially set up with two hand presses: a 63×90cm French lithographic Brisset that formerly belonged to Jean Fautrier, and a 120×250cm etching press, made-to-order in the 1970s for Swedish artist Bengt Lindström. Today, the print shop operates with six presses, all manual: three lithographic and three etching that can print formats as large as 3m×1m50.
The Second Atelier at Montparnasse:
2000 - 2001
In 2000, Michael Woolworth expanded to a studio in Montparnasse, on the Impasse du Mont Tonnerre, where he began collaborations with Austrian artist Otto Zitko, making prints and the artist’s book Polyne; French artist Vincent Corpet, publishing several monotypes and a book on transparent plastic sheets; as well as producing geometric works by Miquel Mont; a figurative lithographic triptych by Marc Desgrandchamps; and a series with Australian conceptual artist Mark Themann, The Surrogate Cartographer, made in letterpress and red sealing wax.
The Third Atelier in Malakoff: - 2002 - 2005
The printing studio moved to an even larger space in 2003 in Malakoff,just outside Paris. There, he began, notably, working with Jim Dine, first with a series of sumptuous, large-scale botanical prints and, later, with a monumental project on Pinocchio. The studio also worked with Irish painter Sean Scully, Jean-Pierre Pincemin and Hélène Delprat, as well as printing the extensive Nuancier with Marie-Ange Guilleminot. In 2004, he collaborated with José Maria Sicilia on one of the atelier’s most ambitious projects: a “rug” measuring 9m×3m printed in lithography on an ensemble of 84 plaster blocks. First shown in the Islamic galleries at the Louvre, the piece has since been exhibited around the world.
The Fourth Atelier in Bastille: 2005 to Now
In 2005, the atelier returned to a historic Parisian studio just off the Place de la Bastille. In addition to continuing projects with Jim Dine, Marc Desgrandchamps and Sean Scully, the studio also began collaborating with Yuri Kuper, Günther Forg, A.R. Penck, Barthélémy Toguo, Djamel Tatah, Stéphane Pencréac’h, Frédérique Loutz, Ofer Lellouche, Stéphane Bordarier, Richard Gorman, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Bertrand Lavier, Allen Jones, David Shrigley, Vittorio Santoro, Jason Dodge, Blaise Drummond, Carole Benzaken, Mélanie Delattre-Vogt,Philippe Favier....
Since 2016, a younger crowd has also begun collaborating with the shop and pushing the boundaries in their work through the print medium, including Abdelkader Benchamma, renowned comic-book artist Brecht Evens, Claire Chesnier, Clément Bagot and Eva Nielsen.
But in 2019 and 2020, the most prominent additions have been publishing for the first time American artists Matt Magee and Peter Soriano, along with French Romanian Mïrka Lugosi, and Belgian woodcut artist Bruno Hellenbosch.
2021 and 2022 brought new arrivals such as Maude Maris, Pierre di Sciullo, Armelle de Sainte Marie, Paul Collins and the legendary artist duo, Anne and Patrick Poirier.
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