Graphic art is a particular form of pictorial prints that can be produced in editions. Each print is considered an original work of art even though there can be a certain number of the same motif. A graphic print is an imprint from a stone, a wooden board, a metal plate or another material on which the artist has created her artwork.
New, modern printing methods are continually being developed, and graphic artists are often the first to explore the artistic potential of emerging techniques. None of the old methods have been replaced; on the contrary, new methods have been added to the old. Thus, the richness of graphic art has been enhanced by every generation of inventive and inquisitive printmakers.
Graphic art is divided into four main types: relief prints, intaglio prints, plan prints and screen prints. The term “intaglio” comes from the Italian word for engraving into a plate or wooden block. The most common relief techniques are woodcut, wood engraving and linocut. There are many intaglio techniques; the most common are burin engraving, drypoint, mezzotint, etching and aquatint. Lithography is the major plan printing technique while serigraphy (screen printing) involves printing through a textile screen onto a surface. With the exception of screen printing, the final print is always a mirror image of the pressure plate.
Graphic art or prints represent a wide range of artworks that are mostly two-dimensional and printed on paper, although they may also take the form of books or be printed on other materials. Graphic art may also be three-dimensional, taking the form of installations. The definition of “graphic art” employed by the Foundation may be summarised as “a print in which the image is handmade by an artist and produced from a block, a plate or a type, irrespective of motif or edition, and of the highest quality”.
The Foundation seeks to support and encourage the art of printmaking of all types and disciplines. In terms of tradition and craftsmanship, the field of graphic art is currently experiencing an expansion of the means of expression and a renaissance for well-tested and proven techniques. For centuries artists have recognised that certain things can only be expressed and communicated through prints.