If it’s Not a Painting is it a Print? Thirteen Types of Prints

A question we get asked frequently is, “What is the difference between a painting and a print?” It’s a great question that only requires a magnifying glass and some sunlight to answer (in most cases). We talk about about it here. The follow-up question is “What is a print?” Our gallery primarily focuses on paintings, however since this is such a frequently asked question we thought we’d give basic descriptions of thirteen various print types. Lets start off with a definition of what a print is –

Print describes three basic types of making multiple editions from a single image – relief prints, intaglio prints, and planographic prints. A print itself is a piece of paper or other surface, which holds a pressed-on drawing.

  • To make a relief print, the artist cuts away their chosen surface (usually wood) to create a drawing, and ink is spread over the raised surface. The wood is then pressed to paper and a drawing is transposed.
  • An intaglio print is created in the opposite way: the ink is spread over the surface (both the cut-out and remaining areas) and then wiped away. A piece of paper is pressed over the surface and the ink that remains in the dugout carvings transfers onto the paper.
  • For a planographic print, the artist draws on their chosen surface with a greasy crayon that resists water but holds ink. The surface is then cleaned with water, covered in ink and pressed to a piece of paper.

1. Lithograph is a form of printing whereby you use a very smooth plate usually made of stone. The plate is covered with acid and gum arabic, and drawn on with oil paints or sometimes wax. The success of lithography is based on the principle that water and oil do not mix. A piece of paper is placed on top of the treated surface and sent through a printing press. The pressure from the printing press transfers the image onto the paper. Here is an example of a lithograph by the artist Thomas Hart Benton entitled Swampland.

Thomas Hart Benton lithograph entitled Swampland Continue reading

Our Favorite 40 Museums – Part 2

We’ve found one of the best ways to study art is to see it in person, which we’ve written about in this post. As we continue to celebrate our gallery’s fortieth year in business we encourage you to go out and explore some of these fabulous museums.

*Note this list of museums is not in any particular order. To read about some of the other museums on our list click here for Part 1, here for Part 3 and here for Part 4 of our favorite museums series.

11. Philadelphia Museum of Art One of the largest museums in the US, the Philadelphia Museum of Art grew out of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition art gallery at America’s first World’s Fair. Their collections showcase impressionist, decorative and modern arts, an extensive collection of arms and armor, as well as significant textile and costume holdings. Artworks by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin and Philadelphian born painter Thomas Eakins are featured. The museum buildings themselves are works of art so make sure to allow time to explore the outside of the museum as well.

Irene Rice Pereira Two Triangles

Irene Rice Pereira “Two Triangles” from the Philadelphia Museum of Art

12. Bowdoin College Museum of Art A gem of a college museum located in Brunswick, Maine includes in their holdings American and European paintings and sculpture, decorative arts,  and works on paper. The museum’s print collection was recently enhanced through a generous gift of over 1,500 works.  Continue reading