Printmaking in the 18th and 19th Centuries
The 18th century saw a flourishing of visual satire across Britain and Spain. Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) and William Hogarth (1697-1764), among others, used printmaking to disseminate political and social commentary. Meanwhile, in Japan, artists moved away from a predominate Chinese influence and founded a genre of art called ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”). Ukiyo-e artists used woodblock prints to capture ordinary landscapes and the everyday life of commoners, actors, and courtesans. The most famous Japanese master of woodcut, Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), produced about 35,000 drawings and prints.
The development of the lithographic process marked a turning point in the production and distribution of prints in the 19th century, especially in France. Lithography allowed satirists like Honoré Daumier (1808-1879) to quickly comment on the day’s political events, and artists from the Impressionist movement experimented endlessly with the tones and textures they could achieve on the stone.