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Matisse Monoprints

June 25, 2010

Matisse needed a break from painting and sculpture and went on a printmaking jag for a few years.  He bought a small press and made some traditional intaglio etchings and lot of monoprints.  I had never seen these works before.  The way he made the monoprints is what I found interesting.

A lot of monoprints use colors applied to the plate and run through the press, so the print is painterly.  Matisse wanted the lines of an intaglio print without the labor of etching the plate.  He rolled out a perfect, velvety layer of ink onto the plate then used something along the lines of a pointed end of a paintbrush or toothpick to draw the image and print it.  This let him do a lot of monoprints quickly and reuse the plate over and over.

                                                       Matisse monoprint self-portrait

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