In the 1950s a group of artists, critics and architects joined together to investigate art forms which rejected the stylistic conventions which had come before them. Instead they sought to produce art which incorporated symbols of modernity and questioned the mass media. The Independent Group met at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) where they built the foundations for the Pop Art movement which would become world famous in the 1960s. The young artists who included Peter Blake, Richard Smith and Allen Jones saw that printmaking, especially screen printing and lithography, could be a way to disseminate their ideas about mass media to a mass audience. Editions Alecto was founded by Michael Deakin and Paul Cornwall-Jones in 1962 to produce and sell contemporary artists' prints from their studio in London. Working closely with Kelpra Studios printmaking workshop they provided a space in which artists could share knowledge and expertise with printmaking specialists and realise new artistic possibilities.
In 1963 Editions Alecto published the 16 plates of David Hockney's A Rake's Progress in an edition of 50. The commercial success of the series funded Hockney's move to California where he experimented with painting and produced some of his most popular works. Editions Alecto understood the importance of branding and the graphic designer Eric Ayres produced their distinctive logo ea which can be found embossed on all their prints. The artists they worked with were some of the biggest names in the 1960s, from Hockney to Gillian Ayres.
image: Lorenzo the Magnificent and Niccolo the Gear, screenprint, by Gillian Ayres [K6160]
Image: Logo for Editions Alecto with the kind permission of Editions Alecto