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Lithography anastatic reprint

Lithographic stone or metal plate, after sensitization of the surface, grows very sensitive to greasiness with even little stains of the substance, which, after appropriate preparation, can become part of the drawing. To stain stone surface with grease, we do not have to draw directly on its surface. We can make the drawing on some other kind of ground and transfer it onto the stone surface. This method offers considerable facilitation, especially if the drawing is to be made outside the studio. The basic principle of classical reprint is quite simple and relies on drawing on a sheet of special paper, which is then transferred, by pressing, on the ground of the matrix proper.

With regard to the character of the transfer we talk about two types of paper; reprinting and autographic. The first one takes the paint on its surface, the other one - the drawing materials; chalk or lithographic ink. Papers used in this method are covered with special emulsions produced of animal or plant glues. We can draw on the ground prepared in this way or make a print and, after wetting it from the paper side and using the delamination properties, print the drawing onto the stone surface.

Practically, every drawing, made with the use of greasy material can be reprinted onto the stone or metal plate surface. Yet, we have to bear in mind that drying out or ageing of the material on the paper forces us to make the reprint in a given scope of time. Disregarding the technological details of reprinting, I would like to describe anastatic print in order to describe the contemporary method of using it in printmaking.

Anastatic reprint, used towards the end of the l9th and at the beginning of the 20th century, was the method of getting facsimile lithographic prints of old copperplates, woodcuts and lithographs, as genuine as the original, as possible. For anastatic reprint one had to use a high quality print (sharp and in good condition), if possible, fresh print, where the ink retained the capability of greasing the stone or the plate. Clean print was drowned in water solution of gum Arabic with tint of acid, ex. nitric acid, which was followed by softening of ink on it by rubbing cotton wool tampon stained with turpentine oil.

Old print, with ink dried out, was rubbed with the solution of petrol, soap water and ammonia before drowning in water bath. After rinsing the print, the drawing was rubbed with diluted greasy reprinting ink. Paper soaked with weak acid solution repulses ink, which sticked only to the earlier printed drawing. Reprinting involved (with strong pressing) impression of the drawing from the ink on appropriately sensitized plate. In case of this method, precious original print was often damaged or even destroyed. Basing on the principles, which offer the possibility of making anastatic reprint from old prints with no fear of their destruction, I elaborated my own method of printing from Xerox copies. Generally · applied transfer of the picture from Xerox copy by diluting toner with aggressive solvents (nitro, tri, or acetone) are for me little effective. Soaked paper of the Xerox copy or any ground for reprint may transfer the picture in an incidental way. The pigment of the toner sticks to the stone surface, does not stain it with grease and is the physical carrier of the ink. . Uncontrolled soaking of paper may cause washing the picture away or, the other way round, only partial transfer of the picture from the Xerox copy on the stone or any other surface. Worth considering is also the fact of destructive effect of the applied solvents.

These drawbacks can be eliminated, if the process and material evaluation remains under full control and if the Xerox copy and the toner on its surface are treated as carriers for the ink. In this method I use properties of wet paper, which behaves like wet stone surface treated with solution of acid and gum. Like stone, wet paper repels greasy ink, which sticks only in places fixed on the Xerox copy toner and is its carrier. In order to obtain full and satisfying greasing of the stone, I make reprinting ink by stirring feather ink with thick lithographic ink and asphalt tincture in proportion 2 : l : l. If necessary, I dilute it with several drops of turpentine oil. Preparation of Xerox copy paper should best be done on clean glass free of grease (photo l).

Paper is moistened with a weak dilution of nitric acid and gum Arabic (for 100 ml of the dilution we add 3 - 4 drops of the acid), (photo 2 .

). After removal of excess of the preparation, we can start fixing ink with small roller made of sponge. Xerox copies are made on smooth papers, but, after moistening they delaminate easily, just like any other paper. The roller, which turns smoothly, does not damage the toner. We remove the excess of toning solvent and the ink on the roller, when we make first fixtures on an additional Xerox copy. The tone achieved at the beginning weakens with time, and the area outside the drawing grows clear (photo 3).

Dirt should be removed by washing the copy with preparation. Fixing should be made carefully, without excessive moistening of paper and with little ink taken on the roller, water acts repellently on the ink, whereas excess of ink on the print, while pressing, will be squashed, thus giving a non-sharp and enlarged drawing. Paper, which is too wet with preparation, placed on the stone, etches its surface. Reprinted drawing is further subject to retouching, therefore its surface should be fully receptive to further greasing. In order to achieve this, the print with ink should be placed its clean side on filtration blotting - paper and drain off the excess of preparation (photo 4).

). Also, while pressing, the Xerox copy should be covered with dry filtration blotting - paper. Stone or plate surface, on which the reprint will be made, should be smooth, sensitized or, at least, heated with hot air , (photo 5).

). The reprint should be made shortly after fixing ink, because paper and ink dry quickly on the toner. Anastatic reprint from Xerox copy can be made on lithographic or relief printing press (l use both of them). Pressing or rolling goes only in one direction with pressure growing gradually stronger (photo 6).

). While reprinting, only the layer of reprinting ink is impressed on the stone; the Xerox copy is not really damaged and can be used for evaluating the drawing or the next reprint (photo 7).

One should consider the fact that, while moistening, paper gets delaminated, which results in the drawing becoming lighter. If the Xerox copy paper, after reprinting, is not easily taken off as a whole from the stone surface, we should wait until the next day with this procedure. Staining stone with grease achieved with the method of anastatic reprint from Xerox copy should be treated as a drawing with lithographic ink. When ink dries, we can start retouching and then we put talc and gum on the stone surface. Where reprint is to be linked with other techniques, stone surface should be prepared for the appropriate drawing technique. Reprint from Xerox copy, due to its perfection, has got some characteristic features of photography reproduced with the use of Xerox machine, so it is good to enrich it with supplementary drawing techniques. Using the reprint method we can also make a composition in big size without the necessity of having the enlarged drawing on one sheet of paper. For reprint we use smaller fragments of Xerox copies, which, after preparation and fixing ink on them, are placed in marked places on the stone surface or any other ground. Using the possibility of fixing greasy ink on the prepared Xerox copy, we can transfer the drawing on other grounds, ex. paper (photo 8),

linoleum (photo 9), wooden panel or metal plate.

The essential feature of this method is the automatic reversal of the drawing, so important for making the matrix in graphic art techniques. While printing, paper is placed directly on the matrix, so that we can obtain the picture reversed again, to the right side. Reprints made from Xerox copies (ordinary and laser) are different and offer, as a result, much greater possibilities, one should master and, if necessary, use while preparing matrices. General access to copying machines and the use of their technical possibilities as well as easy preparation of Xerox copies combined with the possibility of its evaluation before the actual reprinting process are the factors, which should encourage interesting experiments, also in other visual arts activities.

Witold Warzywoda
Professor Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Lodz

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