Lithographs


Lithographs are a new category of prints at New Zealand Fine Prints. Prints in this category are original prints made by the artist themselves, they are not photo-lithographs produced mechanically. We invite artists and studios producing lithographs to contact us as we are looking for suitable new and established printmakers work to promote.

Lithography is from the greek lithos۝ (stone) and grapho۝ (draw or write). The inventor of lithography, Aloys Senefelder, discovered a printing process utilising the natural antipathy of oil or grease and water. The image is drawn on a flat limestone or on a metal plate with a water repellent substance like crayons. The image is then treated with chemicals such as gum arabic to fix the picture. Water is sponged over the surface followed by the application of an oil based ink using a roller. The drawn areas retain the ink. Paper is then placed onto the plate and pressure applied transferring the image to the paper. Only one colour is applied at a time which makes producing lithographs a very labour intensive printing method. Lithography was a very common method of printmaking in 19th century New Zealand, we recently wrote a story about an early adventure in NZ printmaking when lithographic stone was discovered on the West Coast in the 1860s.