A complete guide on fine art prints

At the end of the 1960s, near the end of his life, Andy Warhol (1928-1987) had enormous success with silk-screen printing. He printed pictures with images from movies and comic strips, which up until then had only been viewed as mass products. These works were extremely popular among celebrities and people of limited means. It seemed like it wasn’t about the art, but more about buying a piece of fame.

Within this context, several artists broke away from high-gloss Pop Art and started doing serigraphs to return to traditional printmaking methods. They all used silk-screen printing, which was easy and safe for fine art reproduction.

The serigraphy technique

A sign in front of a brick building

The serigraphy technique was used by several artists, including Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) and Andy Warhol. These two Pop Art giants did countless serigraphs of famous paintings, both in color and black & white, which made the printmaking process accessible to a larger public. They printed their works on canvas or paper, using oil paint for the inks.

This new printmaking process became popular almost everywhere and was used very often by artists such as Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) and Jasper Johns (b. 1930), who did serigraphs on various objects. It was also used to print onto fabrics, which opened up a whole new dimension for this technique.

Fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008) was known to be an admirer of serigraphy and therefore many fashion designers that followed also used the printmaking process on their creations. Serigraphy was everywhere – it represented a trend, but soon gained respect as a fine art technique in its own right.

Today, serigraphs are produced worldwide in small series or editions. They are printed on paper, canvas, metal, or plastics and are exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. The images can be either original works of art by well-known artists or limited-edition prints of museum paintings by old masters. But one thing is common to all serigraphs: they are screen-printed one by one, which makes every print unique.

Establishment of Serigraphy

Serigraphy has become an established fine art technique recognized worldwide due to its unrivaled possibilities for the reproduction of original works of art. Although many artists produce serigraphs commercially, it is also used by artists who want to experiment with printmaking uniquely, thanks to its rich and varied past. For a long time, it has been used both commercially and privately by many artists.

Serigraphs are printed with an ink-receptive film on mesh or a silkscreen. It is not possible to use the same screens as for fabric printing, because the fine textures and lines in the images will show through, so it is preferable to print on paper. The material can vary from uncoated and matte papers to canvases and metal sheets.

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