Re:- Woodblocks versus Lithos

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Posted by Theo de Kreijger on July 13, 2003 at 12:49:01:

In Reply to: Woodblocks versus Lithos (was:- Re:- Help with storage and picture ID) posted by Peter Gallagher on July 13, 2003 at 02:21:53:

Hi Peter,

Actually I meant "stone print" when I meant "litho". You can create "offset lithograhy" with flattened large sandstones which you partly cover with ink resistant material. If you manage to do that for every color, then you can print multi-colored offset prints if you have the right tool to do that. The old printing machines were hand powered, so the whole process was quite a tour-the-force. The grinding of the stones, the applying of the drawing, the creating of the ink-resistant layer, etc., it was all done by hand.

Gradually this porcess was automated and photography replaced the manual process of placing the image on the surface of the carrier.

So, yes, it was a difficult job to do when it was introduced in Japan. It was and still is a real craft to make stone prints the old fashioned way. But it is less difficult then woodblock printing and it produces larger quantities of prints without loss of quality.

Modern artists still make litho's the old way, because they believe that their personal though and intention remains preserved in the print. This because it's created fully by their own hands.

If this is true? I don't know. It's up to the buyer to make that desision. In the case of the Japanese woodblock prints and litho's: they were all done by artisans, not by the artist himself. (This with the exception of a number of Shin Hanga artists and European followers. But they might have had some help from others in their "atelier".)

Anyway: I personally think that woodblock prints are just a tiny step higher on the the ladder of artistic efforts. Because it's harder to get a great print out of cherry-wood in the first place. But for the rest it just depends ...


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