Category Archives: printmaking

The Gutenberg Revolution: How Printing Changed the Course of History

By John Man (2009)
In 1450, all Europe’s books were handcopied and amounted to only a few thousand. By 1500, they were printed and numbered in their millions. The invention of Johann Gutenberg had caused a revolution: printing by movable type. Born in 1400 in Mainz, Germany, Gutenberg struggled against a background of plague and religious upheaval to bring his remarkable invention to light. His story is full of paradoxes: his ambition was to reunite all Christendom, but his invention shattered it; he aimed to make a fortune, but was cruelly denied the fruits of his life’s work. Yet history remembers him as a visionary; his discovery marks the beginning of the modern world.

Posted in culture, design, history, language, media, printmaking, technology, typography

Paths to the Press: Printmaking and American Women Artists, 1910-1960

Paths to the Press: Printmaking And American Women Artists 1910รป1960Edited by Elizabeth Seaton (2006)
In 1910 Bertha Jaques co-founded the Chicago Society of Etchers and helped launch a revival of American fine art printmaking. In the decades following, women artists produced some of the most compelling images in U.S. printmaking history and helped advance the medium technically and stylistically. Paths to the Press examines American women artists’ contributions to printmaking in the U.S. during the early to mid twentieth century.

Posted in art, biography, exhibition, feminism, history, printmaking

The Print in the Western World: An Introductory History

The Print in the Western World: An Introductory HistoryBy Linda Hults (1996)
While teaching the history of the print, Hults felt constrained by the lack of a scholarly chronological introduction to the matter. Her solution: the creation of this well-organized, exhaustively researched volume, which may well become a bible in its field. Her subject isn’t limited to technical aspects of printed media (woodcuts, etching, engraving, drypoint, aqua- and mezzotints, lithographs, silk-screens, etc.). She also examines the cultural and economic forces behind each medium as it developed, the personal goals of individual artists and cultural events influencing their times. From Christian souvenirs at early pilgrim sites to Communist agitprop; from prints made for renaissance patrons to mass editions marketed to the middle and lower classes of the industrial age, Hults treats (and illustrates) them all. The book is meticulously annotated and indexed and incorporates commentary from other art historians. Female artists and writers are also given their due. Beyond the overwhelming scholarship, this is a work to be read. Hults’s prose has a clarity, rhythm and range of shading that complement the prints she describes.

Posted in art, history, media, printmaking

Printmaking in America: Collaborative Prints and Presses, 1960-1990

Printmaking in America: Collaborative Prints and Presses, 1960-1990Edited by Trudy Hansen (1995)
Curators Hansen, Joann Moser, David Mickenberg, and Barry Walker chronicle the growth of American printmaking from early utilitarian works through the establishment of printmaking as a fine art. The work describes developments in technique but more importantly addresses the complex, cooperative process that was born in innovative printshops such as the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles. Mickenberg’s chapter on nonprofit and university-affiliated workshops provides refreshing insight into how the financial support of large foundations helped found the nonprofit printshops. Not only did such workshops pool the talents of printmakers, but they helped create new markets for what had previously been considered a dying art. The authors also attribute the rebirth of printmaking in the United States to several women and minority artists and printers; however, the most recognized prints, created by the likes of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, have not been overlooked.

Posted in art, education, exhibition, history, printmaking

Prints and Visual Communication

Prints and Visual CommunicationBy William Ivins (1969)
The sophistication of the photographic process has had two dramatic results–freeing the artist from the confines of journalistic reproductions and freeing the scientist from the unavoidable imprecision of the artist’s prints. So released, both have prospered and produced their impressive nineteenth- and twentieth-century outputs. It is this premise that William M. Ivins, Jr., elaborates in Prints and Visual Communication, a history of printmaking from the crudest wood block, through engraving and lithography, to Talbot’s discovery of the negative-positive photographic process and its far reaching consequences.

Posted in art, history, media, photography, printmaking, technology