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Knowing the Difference
Purpose/ Philosophy
Artist/Title Index
Art Terms

Knowing the Difference...p.2


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Published 10 years apart in the "Ga-zette des Beaux-Arts", the etching above (1860, by Leopold Flameng after Pierre-Paul Prud' hon), and the litho-graph to the right (1870, by Achille Sirouy after the same Prud'hon por-trait) make an interesting comparison of two entirely different printing tech-niques ...


... This etching is very uncharacteristic of Flameng, who was a highly skilled and prolific reproductive etcher. Al-though this enlargment shows the clear, differentiated etched lines, it also reveals what happens when an etched portrait, especially a small one, gets too "busy" or "noisy" in the intal-glio process. Of course Flameng, not having the benefit of our counsel ...


Now let's compare the texture (above) of the lithograph with our "half-tone" dot matrix (right) from the previous page. This is a critical com-parison for anyone venturing into print collecting for the first time...


We display this pair not so much to show differences between full color and sepia, but to make a point about the difference between the artist's skill at execution, different print catagories notwithstanding. (Click either pic for enlarged comparison.) We will offer both for sale. (Click : "Chromoliths",.. p.1 and "Ladies"...p.2) The above sepia etching, by Ernst Forberg after Karl Sohn, Jr., ( published in a German peri-odical, c.1880 ) demonstrates For-berg's fine skill as an academic etcher ...


... This enlargment reveals the skillful handling of the etched hand and subtle texture of the image, while ...


... again, the delicate features of
the face are better revealed in the etching ...


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... In addition to the added decorative octagon & statuary embellishments, above lithograph is a better look be-cause, in this case at least, the litho-graph process captured the smooth-ness of the subject's face much more effectively ...


...The small irregular "spotty" texture, characteristic of a lithograph, is clearly revealed...


...There are countless "antique" deal-ers who either pretend ignorance, or are simply confused on the point...(I can't begin to count the times I've seen half-tone prints declared to be "original lithographs" or worse, "origi-nal watercolors" amateur dealers and collectors alike...)


UP TO THIS POINT, we have illustrated three fundamental cate-gories in the printing process :
1) Line & stipple, mezzotint, etching; these are all different types of en-gravings within the same catagory, "intalglio".
2) Halftones fall in the "photographic" catagory and finally
3) Lithographs (including chromolith-ographs) fall into the "planographic" catagory.



... Though some may prefer color over all, it is important to know that the presence of color neither precludes nor assures quality. While the above chro-molith, published in "Leslie's Pop-ular Monthly" in 1882 ( without credit to either artist ) is still a good render-ing, it simply is not as well drawn as Forberg's etching : take note of the overall delicacy of the figure, espe-cially the face and hands; the skill of the etcher's tool trumps the chromo-lith's more hastily drawn subject. The key word "Popular" may be the issue here; did the American publisher Leslie assume a lack of sophistication of his American clients, compared to the Ger-man public? The scary part is he may have been right even up to this day ...


... this enlargement brings home why some would prefer the color of the flowers ... However, when returning to the whole (as this is not about flowers; confirmed by the German title) the pic is really about a young, beautiful Span-ish woman who happens to be a "Flower Girl" ... a common trade with many young women in 19thC Europe ...


... a little cruder and formulaic,
but in color and overall, not bad;
keeping in mind that much more skill
(and training) is required for an artist
to draw the contours of the hand than
of the face, a fact long lost on most
Americans (See "anatomy" and refer


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