Lithography - lithograph

DEFINITION

A printing process, it involves a surface, such as a stone or sheet aluminum which is treated chemically so that the ink adheres only to selected portions. The resulting image, printed on a litho-press is a lithograph or lithographic print. Usually the design is made with a grease pencil on a special lithograph stone. The stone is then wetted, leaving an even layer of water over the surface, and the area marked by the grease pencil will accept a layer of ink. Lithography dates to 1798 in Solnhofen, Germany to a man named Alois Senefelder who discovered that greasy crayon applied to smooth-grained limestone would create a print when the stone was wet with water and the crayon design was inked. One of the first American artists to experiment with Lithography was Rembrandt Peale who recognized it as a way of making inexpensive copies of his work. Other American artists noted for Lithography are Glenn Coleman, Peter Moran, Mabel Dwight, Elizabeth Olds and Alfred Howland. A pioneering American was Nathaniel Currier who formed a business with James Ives that grew into the earliest and very famous lithography firm of Currier & Ives. Their printing presses required many illustrators to create the lithographs and in this way shaped the future of many American artists. Sources: Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"; Ralph Mayer, "A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques"; 'Museum Accessions', "The Magazine Antiques", August 2006; AskART database.

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