The ABCs of print making- techniques and terminology

by leslierankowfinearts

ALEXANDRA  SCHWARTZ, WHO ESTABLISHED THE MASTER PRINT DEPARTMENT AT PACE GALLERY, LOCATED AT 32 EAST 57th STREET, IN NEW YORK, HAS BOTH A WONDERFUL MUSEUM BACKGROUND AND DEALER EXPERTISE  IN THE PRINT MARKET.  MASTER PRINTS INCLUDE  GREAT 20th CENTURY MASTERS SUCH AS PICASSO, MATISSE,  DUBUFFET AND MIRO, WHOSE INNOVATIVE TECHNIQUES AND EXPERIMENTAL COLLABORATIONS WITH SUCH GREAT ATELIERS AS GALERIE MAEGHT CREATED A VITAL AREA OF COLLECTING.  MASTER PRINTS NOW INCLUDE  MORE RECENT CONTEMPORARY MASTERS SUCH AS RICHARD DIEBENKORN AND HELEN FRANKENTHALER.

IN THE FIRST BLOG, SASHA FILLED US IN ON HER IMPRESSIVE PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND, THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE PACE MASTER PRINT DEPARTMENT, NOW CELEBRATING ITS 41st YEAR, AND AN OVERVIEW OF THIS UNIQUE AREA OF COLLECTING.

TODAY,  SASHA, AN IMPASSIONED EXPERT IN THE PRINT MARKET, THE HISTORY OF PRINTMAKING, WILL OUTLINE THE  DIVERSE AND UNIQUE PRINTMAKING TECHNIQUES THAT ARTISTS CAN EMPLOY TO REALIZE WORKS THAT ARE INSPIRED BY THE  TECHNICAL FREEDOM AND DIVERSITY OF THIS MEDIUM TO EXPRESS  THEIR OWN PERSONAL AESTHETIC AND VISUAL LANGUAGE.

SASHA, THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR INPUT.

WHO ARE SOME OF THE MOST CELEBRATED ARTISTS THAT HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE HISTORY OF MASTER PRINTMAKING?

In my opinion, the four greatest printmakers in the history of the medium, which began in the mid -15th century, are Durer, Rembrandt, Goya and Picasso.  In the modern era, the most notable printmakers are the European artists Toulouse-Lautrec, Gauguin, Munch, Morandi, Picasso, Matisse, Dubuffet, and Miro, and the American artists Cassatt and Hopper.

IS ANY PRINT BY A MASTER ARTIST CONSIDERED A MASTER PRINT OR IS THERE A HIERARCHY WITHIN THIS MEDIUM AND ON WHAT IS IT BASED?

There has always been a certain amount of misinformation and confusion about what original prints are and what makes them valuable.  To begin with, it’s important to appreciate that prints, albeit not unique, are original works of art.  That is, they are works intended by the artists from the start to only be prints and not reproductions of works in other mediums.  The best prints are traditionally produced by artists who are involved first hand in the process of making the prints.   Many artists, including Picasso, Miro, Munch, and Dubuffet, tirelessly exploited various print mediums to achieve new effects.

WHAT ARE THE VARIOUS TECHNIQUES OF PRINTMAKING THAT ARTISTS EMPLOY TO CREATE THEIR WORKS? DO SOME HAVE MORE VALUE THAN OTHERS?

Engraving, etching, lithography, woodcut, linoleum cut and monotype are the mediums that artists of the modern era traditionally use.  The artist chooses to work in a particular technique based on the look of the image he wants to create.  For instance, if he desires a pure, thin, simple line, he will generally choose etching;  broad , flat areas of black or color, mostly likely lithography; a strong, more angular composition, then woodcut.  One medium does not have more value than another.  It’s the result of the effort, its attractiveness and desirability in the market,  along, of course,  with the reputation of the artist that determines a print’s value.

THANK YOU, SASHA. I WOULD WELCOME YOUR GUIDANCE AND ADVICE FOR THE COLLECTOR WHO WOULD LIKE TO EXPLORE THIS SPECIFIC AREA. IN THE NEXT BLOG, WE CAN EXPLORE THAT AS WELL AS THE CRITERIA AND CONSIDERATION A MORE ESTABLISHED AND SOPHISTICATED COLLECTOR OF MASTER PRINTS SHOULD KNOW.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS TO ADDRESS, SASHA WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO ANSWER.

THANKS FOR READING!