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August 1 — December 1

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August 1 — December 1

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PRINTMAKING:
AN EXPLANATION

What is an original print?

Printmaking is a fine art process that allows the artist to produce multiple copies of his original image. But in no sense is the original print a copy or a reproduction or a giclée: the artist’s hands steer its creation from start to finish. As Carl Zigrosser has written, “The print is created through contact with an inked or uninked plate, stone, block, or screen that has been worked on directly by the artist alone or with others.” There are four main categories of printmaking: relief, intaglio, lithography, and screenprinting. Each color in a print usually requires a separate stone, plate, block, or stencil, and any of these basic processes may be combined in the creation of a finished work. Unique works (or works in an exceedingly limited number of copies) are sometimes produced as monotypes or monoprints.

The total number of multiples of a print is called an edition. Since early in the 20th century it has been customary for the artist to sign and number each print in the edition (e.g., “3/75,” where the first number refers to the individual print at hand, the second to the total number in the edition). Still, many screen printers give only the total number of the edition (e.g., “ED 25”), and artists in all processes may designate a very limited number of copies in an edition as “AP” (artist’s proofs) or even “TP” (trial proofs), the total of which should not exceed about ten percent of the total number of prints produced. Such proofs may display slight variations from the prints in the main body of the edition.