Printers

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The printing of lithographs was a collaborative process that always caused Redon certain anxieties. He called his relationship with the lithographers a 'temporary, badly matched union' and he was moved to exclaim: 'how I have suffered with the printers!' Redon did the preparatory work of drawing the image and transferring it onto the stone, but then relied on the technical skill of the lithographer to make the prints. Usually trial proofs were made and once the artist was happy and did not want to make any further alterations on the stone, he would approve it for printing. Redon's use of transfer paper and trial proofs meant he had to spend very little time at the lithographer's, the busy workshop atmosphere of which he abhorred.

The works on display here were printed by several lithographers. Fantin-Latour introduced Redon to the lithographic firm Lemercier et Cie, and they printed all his work from 1879 to early 1887. Lemercier was the largest lithographic firm in Paris. They had 70 presses for crayon work, 20 for tinted lithography, 30 for chromolithography, and 12 for 'gravure sur pierre' (lithography in the engraved manner). Even by 1869 they employed 300 workmen. Always uncomfortable with the workshop atmosphere, Redon turned to numerous smaller firms to produce his lithographs. Becquet printed the 1889 album, À Gustave Flaubert and Blanchard printed all the 1896 Tentation de Saint-Antoine plates, except Et partout ce sont des Colonnes de basalte, Elle tire de sa poitrine, Voici la bonne-déesse, and J'ai quelquefois aperçu. These were printed by Clot, who had worked for Lemercier until about 1895 when he begun his own business. Antoine: Quel est le but? was worked on by both Blanchard and Clot.


The Fitzwilliam Museum : Printers

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