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Rosenquist’s twist on lithographic tusche

March 25, 2016 // by John Hutcheson

John Hutcheson is a master printer in all of the traditional hand-printing techniques including etching, woodcut, stone lithography, silkscreen, and handmade paper. In 1972, he was awarded a Ford Foundation grant for two years of advanced study in stone lithography at the renowned Tamarind Institute of Lithography in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Hutcheson is an associate professor at the University of North Florida and worked with MOCA Jacksonville to create audio guides for works in the Museum's printmaking exhibitions: Time Zones, In Living Color, The Other, and the Permanent Collection.

This is the text he wrote and recorded about James Rosenquist's study for The Swimmer in the Econo-mist (painting 1) (1997), a lithographic tusche and colored chalk on Mylar from the Deutsche Bank Collection.

James Rosenquist: Study for The Swimmer in the Econo-Mist (painting 1)
Artwork: James Rosenquist, Study for The Swimmer in the Econo-mist (painting 1), 1997. Deutsche Bank Collection. Photo: Courtesy of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Photo Archives, New York.

Lithography is one of the traditional printing techniques used by artists to make original prints.

It is especially good for hand-drawn tones because the printing plates are created by the artist drawing with crayons and tusche, not by carving as in a woodcut, and not by scratching with a needle as in an etching.

Lithographic tusche is perhaps the most central recipe in the remarkable 1796 invention of stone lithography, which has grown up to be called offset lithography today.

Lithographic tusche is the specific recipe of a drawing ink that contains grease so that it will make an image on a lithographic printing stone or plate.

But, in this case, lithographic tusche was used by Rosenquist to make a drawing, not a lithographic print.

Each different printing technique has its own special effects and its own best use. Rosenquist has used lithography more often than the other technique because it is the most appropriate printing method for his wonderful drawing skills. Here, about 200 years after its invention, Rosenquist employs lithographic tusche for yet another unintended purpose.

Very often, an artist like Rosenquist will use a combination of different printing methods together in one print in order to highlight different colors and different textures.

Listen to the audio guide here or call 904-248-4197, then press 201.

Find all of Hutcheson's audio guides here.

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