About Lithography

The inventor of lithography, Aloys Senefelder, called his new process "Chemical Printing."  The term did not gain acceptance, but was actually more accurate than "lithography," the term that did, in that the principle upon which the process rests is that grease and water will not mix. Lithography (derived from the Greek words for "stone" and "writing") has nevertheless come to be used for all compositions made on this principle, whether printed from stone, zinc, or aluminum.

The lithographic process became widely used both commercially and artistically throughout Europe by the mid-1800's. replacing traditional etching and wood block printing processes.  Books, posters, illustrations, music scores and checks were but a few of the common uses for this process.  Lithographic printing shops employed large staffs of master craftsmen, printers and artists, and could be found in every major city in Europe and the United States by 1900.

As the lithographic process was automated, the use of hand-pulled prints from stone became rapidly obsolete.  So much so, that by 1915, most printshops had jettisoned their stones and presses into land fills, lakes and oceans never to be reclaimed.

Through the United States, lithography languished into virtual obscurity, only occasionally being utilized by artists in the 1940's and 50's.  However, with the development of "Pop" art in the 1960's, lithography was widely re-accepted as a major and highly adaptable process for the creation of fine art limited editions.   Lithographic printshops for for the exclusive use of artists have since been founded throughout the United States.

Stone Press Editions, under the direction of Master Printer Kent Lovelace, was founded in Seattle in 1979.  The shop prints high quality limited edition fine art lithographs for artists mostly from the West Coast and predominantly from the Northwest.   Samara Fine Arts and the artist are grateful for the opportunity to work with a technician of such calibre.

The information above is excerpted from The Tamarind Book of Lithography:  Art and Techniques by Caro Antreasian and Clinton Adams, and material provided by Stone Press.

Copyright 1987, 1998-9 by The Samara Co.

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