History of monoprinting

Written by josh michaels
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History of monoprinting
The origins of monoprinting are hazy. (watercolour monoprint image by pdtnc from Fotolia.com)

Monoprinting is a type of printmaking whose true origins are unknown. Its unique process incorporates elements of painting and drawing, ensuring that no two prints are exactly alike and making editioning impossible.

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Hercules Seghers

Hercules Seghers was a Dutch painter who lived from about 1589 to 1638. Seghers is one of the first-known artists to use a process similar to monoprinting, incorporating line work with different-coloured inks and dyed papers to create landscapes. His images were known to vary widely from print to print.

Edgar Degas

One of the most famous artists to use monoprinting, Edgar Degas brought the process back from the verge of extinction in the 1860s. Influenced by the presence of contrast in photography, Degas used plates, rags and even his fingers to wipe paints across surfaces and create unique "monotypes."

Paul Gauguin

In the latter half of the 19th century, Paul Gauguin famously created his own kind of monoprinting, called "trace monotype." This process involved drawing on layers of paper.

Other Famous Monoprinters

Other well-known artists to use monoprinting include Camille Pissarro, Maurice Prendergast, Pierre Bonnard and Pablo Picasso.

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