What is a Lithograph?

By | October 21, 2010

A lithograph is a copy of the original art work done with a permission. If you are dreaming of buying art work from world renown artists like Picasso but have financial problems, then lithograph is the solution for you. The process is termed as lithography and many artists like Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali have became famous for creating lithographs.

History of Lithographs
Lithography has been used from ages but the records state that Toulouse-Lautrec in late 18th century in Germany, used this technique to recreate some of the best works.

How Lithographs are made?
Lithograph is different from traditional printing methods as we don’t need etching. The artists only needs pencils or crayons to draw a mirrored picture of the original art on a tablet of stone. Once this stage of creating a lithograph is completed, the artist is all set to duplicate the original artwork.

The underlying principle of Lithography is that oil and water don’t mix with each other. The artists applies a layer of oil based ink on the drawing on tablet stone and then cleans the rest of stone with water. He places clean paper on the entire tablet and then places the tablet stone and the paper in a press. Due to the pressure of press, the ink is transferred and we get the desired result.

It should be kept in mind that if its monochrome only single press is needed but in case of colored artwork, several attempts may be needed. Placing of paper on with complete accuracy is must for a proper lithograph.

What does the number on the corner of Lithograph means?
If you see any number such as 5/25, this means that the artwork you have with you is the fifth one out of the total production of 25. You are the lucky one to have its 5th copy.

Are Lithographs of any value?
Yes, they are the best way to commercialize artwork. But owing a lithograph does not mean that you have something very valuable. It depends on the artist and whether it was a limited edition or not. More over one should be careful while purchasing even lithograph as many other methods to duplicate art work are also commonly used.