Michael Rothenstein started his career as a painter and draughtsman. He trained at the Central School of Arts and Crafts. In the late fifties he worked with the artist William Hayter in Paris at his studio 'Atelier 17' which changed his whole direction and inspired him to take up printmaking. His enthusiasm was fired by etching, linocut and wood block printing. From the 1950s until his death he experimented with many different print techniques and did much to extend the frontiers of printmaking. He gained a worldwide reputation as one of the most exciting printmakers of the 20th Century.
A linocut is a popular type of relief print where a design is cut into a layer of thick linoleum glued onto a wooden block. Rothenstein was probably best known for his innovative use of wood engraving but he found the sculptural feel of the resistance of the lino to the knife enlivening and produced some excellent examples of work in this medium.