In this exhibition, you have seen a large variety of graphic art techniques used by Salvador Dalí to create his artworks. In addition to traditional painting techniques, (oil, gouache, watercolor, etc.), Dalí used many printing techniques.
Print: generic term denoting a multipliable image obtained by printing an engraved or sketched medium. A template – wooden board, sheet of metal, stone – that is engraved or used as a drawing medium. Once the template is inked and put in a press, it prints on a piece of paper or other medium. The term applies to all techniques: wood engraving, intaglio and lithography.
We speak of an original print when the artist himself makes the template. If the template is made by a craftsman, we speak of a reproduction or interpretation print.
Engraving / Etching: term denoting both a technique and its result.
Engraving consists of drawing on a medium and cutting grooves in its surface. The engraving is then transposed, after inking, on a medium such as paper. Depending on how the drawing is engraved on metal, there are two distinct procedures: direct cutting, or intaglio, and indirect cutting using acid. Intaglio engraving denotes all engraving procedures that uses a tool to directly cut grooves on the metal sheet. Indirect cutting involves the use of acid to engrave marks on the sheet, similar to the acid etching technique.
Rotogravure enables the transfer of an image on a copper sheet using a photosensitive gelatin. It is a type of intaglio printing and the ink is directly transferred from the engraved metal cylinder (copper) to the medium. The cylinder is mechanically engraved using a diamond or a laser. The size and/or depth of the grooves (cells) will determine the raster which is more or less dense and therefore produces more or less color intensity. The ink must be very liquid in order to be able to fill the cylinder’s cells.
Lithography (from the Greek lithos stone and graphein write): flat printing technique.
The procedure was invented in about 1796 by Alois Senefelder from Germany. The procedure developed in France beginning in the 1820s. The caricaturist, Honoré Daumier, used it as an artistic technique as early as 1830 and it was especially liked by Charles Baudelaire. It is based on the natural immiscibility of water and oil.
The steps used to make a lithograph:
– The artist draws with a fat or oil-based crayon (called “lithographic crayon”) or paints with oil-based ink on carefully sanded, fine-grained limestone.
– The printer-lithographer wets the stone (the oily sketch resists water) and then it is rolled with ink; the oil-based ink adheres to the drawing, but not to the wet parts.
– A piece of paper is placed on the inked stone and all is placed in the press.
– The stone is wet and inked again, enabling multiple printings (also called prints) without altering the quality.
Color lithography (chromolithography)
The procedure that is used is called chromolithography, based on four colors (CMYK), developed by Godefroy Engelmann in 1836: overlaying the three primary colors ( cyan (blue), yellow and magenta (red)) and black allows one to obtain all possible shades and hues. This principle is still used in printing today, with lithograph presses equipped with systems designed to obtain good print marking for successive prints. Color lithographs are made with one stone per color; the placement of paper on each stone must be very precise so that the color is printed in the right place.
Reversed proofs or positive proofs
Drawing directly on the stone produces reversed proof prints, or “offset lithography”. Transfer paper avoids this inconvenience while freeing the artist from working on a stone. The oil-based crayon drawing is done on a lightly glued piece of paper; it is placed with the drawing side down on the stone and the front is dampened. The drawing is reversed on the stone. When printed, it will produce a positive proof resembling the artist’s drawing.
Serigraphy (from the Latin sericum silk and the Greek graphein write): Printing technique that uses stencils.
Originally, silk screens were placed between ink and the medium, the technique can be used on various media, and not only on flat surfaces (paper, cardboard, textile, metal, glass, wood, etc.).
Printing: result of woodblock or lithograph printing. This term also denotes the number of editions obtained.
Depending on the technique, the same print medium can produce several dozen to several hundred editions. A proof is the edition of a print obtained from the engraved or lithographed medium.
All of these techniques can also be combined with each other or with other drawing or painting techniques, as Dalí often did himself, for example: wood engraving for the Divine Comedy, lithography for Don Quichotte, a combination of acid etching, lithography and wood engraving for The Art of Love, drypoint etching and serigraphy for The Alchemy of the Philosophers, etc.