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monoprint meaning one print

MONOPRINTmeaning one print

American artists began making monotypes during the 1880s in Europe and the United States. In Italy Frank Duveneck and the artists in his circle created them on a portable press for their own amusement and taught the process to other artists when they returned to the United States. Artists studying in Paris also began making monotypes as a group activity, experimenting with the process in conjunction with their drawing or printmaking activity. None of them adopted it as a primary medium. Monotypes were made in a spirit of improvisation, a release from the restrictions of academic training.

Spontaneity and experimentation have always characterized the monotype. In contrast to other printmaking techniques, an artist does not need special equipment or technical training to make a monotype.
  • In its purest and simplest form, a monotype is made by drawing with printer's ink or oil paint on a smooth surface such as glass or a metal plate.
  • The image is then transferred to paper before it dries, using a printing press or other means of pressure, ranging from the back of a spoon to a palm of the hand, or even the wringer of an old washing machine.
  • Because most of the image is transferred in the printing process, only one strong impression can be taken, hence the term monotype (one print).
  • Additional impressions of the residual image are sometimes printed, but they are significantly fainter than the first pull. These are referred to as a“ghost print.”
Untitled (Group in Water)Eric Fischl, 1992color monotype, 91.4 x 185.7 cm(36 x 73 1/8 in.), Smithsonian American Art Museum
Edwin DickinsonJoyce Treiman, 1987color monotype with hand coloring and pencil additions, (7 x 5 in.), Private Collection

UntitledJoseph Jefferson, ca. 1885color monotype, 35.7 x 50.7 cm(14 1/16 x 20 in.), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase and gift of the Reverend Dewolf Perry

narcissus joseph goldyne 1978 color monotype 44 9 x 30 2 cm 17 11 16 x 11 7 8 in private collection
NarcissusJoseph Goldyne, 1978color monotype, 44.9 x 30.2 cm(17 11/16 x 11 7/8 in.), Private Collection
The Pony,

Paul Gauguin c. 1902 - sheet: 32 x 59 cm gouache monotype touched with gum

or varnish on laid paper

Createx Monotype Colors are unique water-based, non-toxic, permanent paints crafted specifically for making monotypes.

Simply paint on any non-absorbent surface (i.e. Plexiglas) and allow to dry.

Transfer your image to dampened paper by rubbing, printing pin, or press.

This unique water-based process allow unlimited time to create the image, unlike oil-based inks which must be printed before dried.

Known as the most painterly method among the printmaking techniques, a monoprint is a non editionable kind of print and is essentially a printed painting.