Contemporary, Monoprint, Monotype, Portraits, Prints

Explaining Monoprints and Monotypes

As we prepare for the opening of our new gallery exhibit, Monotypes, we thought it useful to delve into the difference between a monotype and a monoprint for our blog readers and collectors. As their names imply, monotypes and monoprints are prints that have an edition of one. Often referred to interchangeably, these planographic techniques are actually quite different.

A monotype is made by drawing or painting a design in printing ink onto any smooth surface, then covering this matrix with paper and passing it through a press. The result, an exact reverse of the original drawing, is an original and unique monotype.

A monoprint is made by taking an already inked etched plate or carved woodblock and adding additional ink to the surface of the matrix. The matrix and paper are run through the press, creating a monoprint. This additional ink produces an impression different in appearance to a conventionally-printed impression from the same plate. Since it is virtually impossible to manipulate this extra ink twice the same way, every monoprint impression will be different.

To explain this further, take a look at the two portraits shown below. Elie Nadelman by Leonard Baskin is a monotype. The composition is created of solely ink manipulation on the plate- there are no etched or engraved lines delineating the profile. In contrast, the print Elizabethan by Irving Amen is a monoprint. Etched lines add contours to the face, eyes, and beard, while printing ink (applied not in the grooves of the etched plate lines but on the surface of the plate) adds color to areas like the cheeks, forehead, and background. If Irving Amen tried to create another impression of this print, he would not be able to mimic exactly the placement, intensity, or saturation of each color- which is what makes this print an monoprint and not a colored etching. There can only be one impression like this one.

Elie Nadelman. Leonard Baskin. Monotype, 1989. Image size  5 x 4 inches. Signed and titled in pencil. LINK.

Elie Nadelman. Leonard Baskin. Monotype, 1989. Image size 5 x 4 inches. Signed and titled in pencil, . LINK.

Elizabethan. Irving Amen. Monoprint, 1964. Image size 17 9/16 x 13 13/16 inches.  Signed, titled and dated in pencil, inscribed "1/1" and "unique color." LINK.

Elizabethan. Irving Amen. Monoprint, 1964. Image size 17 9/16 x 13 13/16 inches. Signed, titled and dated in pencil, inscribed “1/1” and “unique color.” LINK.

Standard
Color Linocut, Contemporary, Early 20th Century, Linocut, Prints

Linocuts

Broadway Moonlight. Emily Trueblood. Three-block linocut, 2006.  Edition 50. Image size 10 x 8" (255 x 203 mm). LINK.

Broadway Moonlight. Emily Trueblood. Three-block linocut, 2006. Edition 50. Image size 10 x 8″ (255 x 203 mm). LINK.

Linocut printmaking is a form of relief printing, using a linoleum block as a matrix. The artist sketches a composition on a block of linoleum, and then cuts away pieces from the surface with a chisel or gouge, leaving a raised area which will receive the ink. A roller is then used to apply ink to this raised surface, and the image is transferred to paper with a press or by hand burnishing and rubbing. Since the recessed cut-away areas do not receive ink, they appear white on the printed image.

The method matches that of a woodblock, but since the linoleum block does not have a directional wood grain, the surface of the print will have less texture and the artist has more freedom in the line work. The linoleum takes all types of lines, but it is suited to large designs with high contrasting tints. If an artist wants to incorporate multiple colors into the linocut, each color will be printed with its own carved linoleum block. The print is created by printing a sheet of paper with each of the blocks in turn, using a strict method of registration to avoid overlapping or misplacement. The greater the complexity, the greater the rate of failed or imperfect impressions.

Below are several of the linocuts we have in our 20th century and contemporary inventory. Stop by our Georgetown gallery to see the prints in person, and look at more linocuts!

Sea View. Stanley Kaplan. Linocut, 2005. Edition 25. Image size 8 1/4 x 17 5/8" (206 x 345 mm). LINK.

Sea View. Stanley Kaplan. Linocut, 2005. Edition 25. Image size 8 1/4 x 17 5/8″ (206 x 345 mm). LINK.

Carp.  Valenti Angelo. Color linocut, undated. Image size 6 1/4 x 8 3/4" (152 x 223 mm). LINK.

Carp. Valenti Angelo. Color linocut, undated. Image size 6 1/4 x 8 3/4″ (152 x 223 mm). LINK.

N. H. Bridge.  Stanley Kaplan. Color linocut, 1997. Edition 25. Image size 8 1/4 x 13" (210 x 330 mm). LINK.

N. H. Bridge. Stanley Kaplan. Color linocut, 1997. Edition 25. Image size 8 1/4 x 13″ (210 x 330 mm). LINK.

Studio Scene w/Doves. Matt Phillips. Linocut, 1976. Image size 22 x 15 3/4" (560 x 400 mm). LINK.

Studio Scene w/Doves. Matt Phillips. Linocut, 1976. Image size 22 x 15 3/4″ (560 x 400 mm). LINK.

El Juego. Karima Muyaes. Color reduction linocut, 2007. Edition 3. Image size 17 3/4 x 11 7/8" (450 x 303 mm). LINK.

El Juego. Karima Muyaes. Color reduction linocut, 2007. Edition 3. Image size 17 3/4 x 11 7/8″ (450 x 303 mm). LINK.

Division Street. Richard Sloat. Three-color linocut, 1995. Edition 50. Image size 7 1/8 x 13 7/8" (180 x 354 mm). LINK.

Division Street. Richard Sloat. Three-color linocut, 1995. Edition 50. Image size 7 1/8 x 13 7/8″ (180 x 354 mm). LINK.

Still Life with Top Hat & Dove in Cage. Matt Phillips. Linocut, 1978. Image size 9 15/16 x 7 15/16" (252 x 202 mm). LINK.

Still Life with Top Hat & Dove in Cage. Matt Phillips. Linocut, 1978. Image size 9 15/16 x 7 15/16″ (252 x 202 mm). LINK.

Vibrato II. Stanley Kaplan. Color linocut, 2006. Edition 25. Image size 12 x 18" (305 x 457 mm). LINK.

Vibrato II. Stanley Kaplan. Color linocut, 2006. Edition 25. Image size 12 x 18″ (305 x 457 mm). LINK.

Dusk at Baker's Beach.  [Massachusetts.]  Emily Trueblood. Three-block linocut, 2006. Edition 50. Image size 3 7/8 x 5 7/8" (98 x 150 mm). LINK.

Dusk at Baker’s Beach. [Massachusetts.] Emily Trueblood. Three-block linocut, 2006. Edition 50. Image size 3 7/8 x 5 7/8″ (98 x 150 mm). LINK.

Standard
Abstract, Citiscapes, Contemporary, Early 20th Century, Figurative, Landscapes, Prints, Screenprint, Serigraph, Silkscreen

Serigraphy

Serigraphy ( also known as screen-printing or silk screen) is a versatile printing process, based on the stencil principle. The method first appeared in China during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD), and gained popularity in 18th century Europe, thanks to imports of silk from the East. A group of WPA artists, who later formed the National Serigraphic Society, coined the word “serigraphy” in the 1930s in effort to differentiate the artistic application from the commercial printing application. Serigraphy was later made famous in the 1960s by Andy Warhol, who used the medium to achieve a bold, commercial look in his pop-icon prints.

To make a serigraph, a fine woven fabric is tightly stretched and attached to a metal or sturdy wood frame. This forms the printing screen. A stencil is then created on the screen, by the application of a blockout. Artists have experimented with numerous blockout methods over time- including paper, hand-cut film, glue, photosensitive emulsion, and gelatin film. The blockout areas become the non-image areas. After the blockout is laid and dried, paper is placed below the screen and thick ink is squeezed into a line across the top of the screen. The ink is then dragged along the surface of the screen with a squeegee. This forces the ink to pass through the open area of the stencil onto the paper below. For multi-colored prints, a separate screen is required for each color.

Below are several serigraph prints we have in our OPG inventory, by early 20th century and contemporary artists. Hope you enjoy!

Trio. Dorie Marder. Serigraph, 1945. Image size 14 7/8 x 10 7/8" (377 x 276 mm). Edition 45. LINK.

Trio. By Dorie Marder. Serigraph, 1945. Image size 14 7/8 x 10 7/8″ (377 x 276 mm). Edition 45. LINK.

Urban Views.  (Large) #6B. Patrick J. Anderson. Serigraph, 2003. Image size 6 x 6" (151 x 151 mm). Edition 12. LINK.

Urban Views. (Large) #6B.  By Patrick J. Anderson. Serigraph, 2003. Image size 6 x 6″ (151 x 151 mm). Edition 12. LINK.

Coastal Whimsey. Joan Drew. Serigraph, 1965. Image size 8 1/8 x 12 1/2" (210 x 320 mm). Edition 55. LINK.

Coastal Whimsey. By Joan Drew. Serigraph, 1965. Image size 8 1/8 x 12 1/2″ (210 x 320 mm). Edition 55. LINK.

Prairie Sunset. Allan Simpson. Serigraph, 1987. Image size 16 5/16 x 20 1/4" (416 x 514 mm). Edition 30. LINK.

Prairie Sunset. By Allan Simpson. Serigraph, 1987. Image size 16 5/16 x 20 1/4″ (416 x 514 mm). Edition 30. LINK.

Dancing. Thomas Seawell. Serigraph and archival digital, 2010. Tondo - diameter 9 1/2 x 9 1/2" (240 mm). Edition 10. LINK.

Dancing.  By Thomas Seawell. Serigraph and archival digital, 2010. Tondo – diameter 9 1/2 x 9 1/2″ (240 mm). Edition 10. LINK.

Space Planes. Morris A. Blackburn. Serigraph, c. 1950.  8 5/8 x 12" (227 x 305 mm). LINK.

Space Planes.  By Morris A. Blackburn. Serigraph, c. 1950. 8 5/8 x 12″ (227 x 305 mm). LINK.

Pet. Joan Drew. Serigraph, 1967. Image size 2 3/4 x 2" (72 x 40 mm).  Edition 51. LINK.

Pet. By Joan Drew. Serigraph, 1967. Image size 2 3/4 x 2″ (72 x 40 mm). Edition 51. LINK.

Point Blank Distance. By Masaaki Noda. Serigraph, 1996. Image size 12 1/8 x 19 1/4" (308 x 488 mm). Edition 40. LINK.

Point Blank Distance. By Masaaki Noda. Serigraph, 1996. Image size 12 1/8 x 19 1/4″ (308 x 488 mm). Edition 40. LINK.

Hartling Bay. Richard T. Davis. Color serigraph, 1993. Image size 17 3/4 x 20 1/4" (445 x 509 mm). Edition 145. LINK.

Hartling Bay. By Richard T. Davis. Color serigraph, 1993. Image size 17 3/4 x 20 1/4″ (445 x 509 mm). Edition 145. LINK.

Standard
Color Linoblock Print, Early 20th Century, Linoleum Block Print, Prints

Ernest W. Watson

Mousehole in Cornwall. By Ernest W. Watson. Color linoleum cut, c.1930. Signed and titled in pencil. Edition 100. 65/100. LINK.

Mousehole in Cornwall. By Ernest W. Watson. Color linoleum cut, c.1930. Signed and titled in pencil. Edition 100. 65/100. LINK.

Ernest William Watson, artist and author, was born in Conway, Mass., Jan 14, 1884. Watson graduated in 1906 from the Massachusetts Normal Art School (now Massachusetts College of Art), Boston, and received an art teacher education degree in 1907 at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, after a year of study there. From 1908 to 1929, he was a teacher of design, drawing, perspective, and composition at Pratt. Ernest met his wife, Eva Auld Watson when she attended one of his classes there.

In 1915, Watson co-founded the Berkshire Summer School of Art, Monterey, Mass., with Raymond P. Ensign. Watson continued active in the school during summers until 1927. Located at what had been a hilltop farm in Monterey, Massachusetts, the school stayed in existence until 1936.

In 1937, Watson, along with with Ralph Reinhold and Arthur L. Guptill, founded Watson-Guptill Publications, Inc., based in New York City. This was the first publishing firm in the United States to specialize in books that taught artists how to paint, draw, and work in sculpture. The firm also published American Artist magazine, with Watson as editor-in-chief from 1931-1955. Throughout his active career, Watson was deeply concerned with gaining greater attention for American artists, and he devoted a sort-of pioneering zeal to attaining this purpose. For his articles in American Artist, he interviewed more than 200 American artists in their homes or studios. It was Watson’s interview with Andrew Wyeth, a feature article accompanied by reproductions of Wyeth’s watercolors and sketches, reported in September, 1942, that won for Wyeth one of his first national acclamations.

Watson was also a pioneer in printmaking- working tirelessly to hone the craft of linoleum block prints. As he developed new techniques of color printmaking, he shared his knowledge with a book Linoleum Block Printing (1929) and organized traveling exhibits for the display of his lino-block prints. His work was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the New York Public Library, New York City, Brooklyn Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Albert H. Wiggin Print Collection of the Boston Public Library.

(Excerpted and adapted from “Ernest W. Watson Biography”, at http://ernestwwatson.com/ )

Standard
Color Woodcut, Contemporary, Early 20th Century, Foreign Views, Prints, Woodcut

John Ross Color Woodcut Progression

84572

Brittany Harbor [Port Haliguen]. Progressive (series set of 6). Color woodcut, 1963. Edition 150. Image size 9 3/8 x 6 1/4″ (237 x 158 mm). Very good condition. Set of six.  The five different color block sheets are signed and titled “Progressive” in the lower margins . The finished impression, “Brittany Harbor” (seen at top right), is signed, titled and dated in pencil. LINK.

Today we have an intriguing print series to share with our OPG blog readers- which offers an insightful look into the creation of the color woodblock print “Brittany Harbor” by NY artist John Ross. This progressive series shows each of the five different colors and two different woodblocks needed to complete the print.

Woodblock printing is a type of relief printmaking. In this technique, the artist sketches a composition on a block of wood and then cuts away pieces from the surface. This leaves a raised area to receive ink. A roller (sometimes called a brayer) is then used to apply ink to the raised surface, and the image is then transferred to paper with a press or by hand burnishing and rubbing. Because the recessed, cut-away areas do not hold ink, they act as white-space on the printed image. Relief prints like woodcuts are usually characterized by bold dark-light contrasts and an impress into the paper of the inked lines.

Color woodcuts in particular are a result of inking one block in multiple colors to build up texture and create vibrance of color. Artists can also use more than one woodblock, each inked in a separate color, to create their composition. A sheet of paper is printed with each of the blocks in turn, using a method of registration to avoid misplacement or overlapping. The greater the complexity (number of woodblocks, number of different colors) of the print, the greater the chance for failed or imperfect impressions. For this reason, successful multi-block, multi-colored woodcuts are rare and a serious show of talent, finesse, and patience.

John Ross used two different woodcut blocks to create “Brittany Harbor”. First, the colors (dark blue, teal, green, and purple inks) are printed onto the paper. Each color is a separate pass through the press, but using the same wood block.

Dark purple ink. First block.

Dark blue ink. First block.

Teal ink. First Block.

Teal ink. First Block.

Green ink. First block.

Green ink. First block.

Purple ink. First block.

Purple ink. First block.

The second block, with finer and more intricate cuts, is then inked with a dark black ink and printed on top of the colored inks. This last block adds important details to the print, like bricks, roof texture, boat masts, and waves.

Black ink. Second block.

Black ink. Second block.

The resulting final image can be seen below.

Brittany Harbor.

Brittany Harbor.

 

An animation showing the block and color progression

An animation showing the block and color progression

Standard