Art for the Asking: 60 Years of the Graphic Arts Loan Collection

Printmaking in the 20th Century

The experimental attitude that originated with the Impressionists took off in the 20th century. In France, lithography dominated as a medium, with painters working directly on stones in order to create original artworks that could then be executed under the direction of master printers. Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Fernand Léger, and Jean Arp were among this group of painters.

Meanwhile, woodcut experienced a revival, as Japanese prints began to reach Europe in considerable numbers. The technique appealed to artists because it was relatively easy to complete the whole process, including printing, in a studio with little special equipment.

After the mid-20th century, there was a spectacular increase in printmaking activity. Artists all over the world experimented with every conceivable medium, combining modern techniques such as photography and digital printing with the more traditional forms.

Fireworks at Ryôgoku Bridge
Killion, Tom
West Point, Mt. Tamalpais
Kandinsky, Wassily
Oldenburg, Claes
Typewriter Eraser