Josef Albers Lino Prints
Josef Albers Lino Prints
Josef Albers was very influential in the process of making Geometric Abstraction and as a result he was the first ever living artist to be featured with a solo retrospective in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Born in Germany, Albers did his studying at Bauhaus. He began working in stained and sandblasted glass in his early career and eventually moved onto artistic ability and art. Albers transitioned everybody’s thinking on color and made it a scientific concept that is well seen throughout history.
Where can I find Josef Albers Lino Prints?
Here at Fine Art Vendor, we offer many works by Josef Albers that you can find HERE. We offer prints from the series from Albers that include - Formulation Articulation, Interaction of Color, Homage to the Square, and many more works by Albers.
About the Lino Printing Process
The history of linoleum dates back to 1834 when a French artist and engraver, named Charles Gleyre, discovered that he could create an image by pressing a piece of paper against a thin layer of linseed oil on top of a wooden block. He called this new material "l'Oleo," which means oleo in French. Over time it became popularly known as linoleum.
By 1850, linoleum had been used for wallpaper production, but its popularity really took off during World War I when it was used extensively for signage, maps, and other graphic art. In 1922, American inventor Edwin Land invented the first commercially successful adhesive-backed rubber eraser. This allowed people to easily remove parts of their drawings without marring or damaging the surface. As a result, more artists began experimenting with linoleum cutters. By 1930, there were many different types of machines available and several companies making linoleum products. The two most common methods of producing linoleum are rotogravure (a process similar to offset lithography) and masonite cutting.
Rotogravure is a type of relief printing where images are carved into a hard plastic sheet, usually made of Bakelite resin, and then transferred to a roller covered with ink. To make a print, a plate containing the design is placed between an engraved cylinder and another larger cylinder fitted with small pins. When these cylinders revolve at high speed, they press down onto the printing paper and force the ink through tiny holes in the cylinders. A doctor blade removes any excess ink from the plate so only the pattern remains on the paper. This method produces sharp lines and crisp details because the ink does not soak into the paper.
Masonite Cutting uses a cutter mounted on a bed that moves up and down. Linoleum is fed under a metal knife while a roller coated with ink presses against the underside of the knife. Because the steel knife cuts both ways -- horizontally as well as vertically -- a printed line can be produced with either letterpress or intaglio techniques. Letterpress printing creates raised areas; intaglio printing creates sunken areas. Masonite cutting is faster than rotogravure because the cutter head doesn't have to rotate. Also, since the pressure comes from below rather than above, less energy is needed to produce a quality print.
History of Lino Printing
In 1935, German manufacturer Eberhard Faber Company introduced one of the world's first commercial linotype cutters. The machine weighed 4 tons and required four operators to run properly. These heavy cutters later gave way to smaller models that did away with manual labor. Today, they're mostly automated and require no human intervention.
Linotypes are large machines that contain a keyboard for entering text, a carousel with individual frames containing letters and symbols, and a cutting table with knives. The operator places pieces of linoleum over the keyboard, enters the desired characters and symbols, and hits the key to activate the keys. At the same time, the carousel slowly revolves. After all the letters and symbols appear in sequence, the frame advances forward and pushes the linoleum onto the cutting table, which carves the letterforms into the hardened linoleum. Each letter is cut individually, so if a mistake occurs, the linotype may need to be reset. Once all the letters for the word or phrase are ready, the machine spits them out one after the other like a stamp - hence the term linotype.
Linotypes continue to evolve today. Newer models feature laser beams instead of mechanical knives. They also use computerized systems to control everything from the timing of the revolving carousel to the spacing of the letters. And some newer models even allow users to download fonts directly onto the machine via the Internet.
Because linotype cutters are so massive, they're built like buildings. Some are 20 feet tall (6 meters), 16 feet wide (5 meters), and weigh hundreds of pounds.
Now let's take a closer look at how an ordinary printer makes a copy.
Most home printers work pretty much the same way. An electronic motor turns rollers around rapidly until they form a kind of nip point. Ink passes through the narrow space between the rollers and the paper. Since the rollers don't touch the paper directly, they aren't transferring any color to it. Instead, a ribbon of ink is attached to each roller. When one roller stops turning, its corresponding ink runs through a channel and dries before running over to transfer the color to the paper.
Making an Image With Lino Printing
There are three main steps involved in lino printing: carving, ink transfer, and fixing.
Carving refers to the actual cutting of the letters and figures from the linoleum. Carvers traditionally use hand tools such as scissors, chisels, gouges, scrapers, and razors. More recently, electric routers, saws, drills, sanders, grinders, lasers, water jets, and industrial milling machines have replaced these traditional tools. Carved plates are held in place by clamps.
To bring the ink to life, a roller covered with ink must contact the exposed side of the linoleum. Most modern lino printers have what's called an impression system, which automatically transfers the inked image to the paper. Imprinters consist of a series of rollers that transport ink from an ink reservoir to the paper. Some printers use single rollers, others use pairs. One end of the paper is rolled over a grooved drum filled with ink so that the ink gets caught in the fibers. Then it's passed over a second drum covered with fine wires that pick up the ink and carry it to a third drum. From here, the ink is distributed evenly across the width of the paper. Other versions of the imprinter use a brush or squeegee to apply ink to the paper.
After the ink has dried, the picture is fixed permanently. There are various ways to accomplish this step, including heat fusing, solvent bonding, ultraviolet light exposure, and chemical reaction.
If you've ever seen a magazine advertisement showing someone taking a picture of themselves on vacation with a camera phone, you know that photographs can now be created right on your desktop. Learn how!
Using Lino Blocks
A lino block is a flat piece of linoleum with a specific shape and size designed specifically for a certain project. For example, a standard business card might have a rectangular lino block measuring 3" x 5". But blocks come in all shapes and sizes. Some patterns are composed of rectangles arranged diagonally, while others are squares, triangles, or hexagons. Even whole sheets of lino can be purchased. You can buy them singly or in sets.
Blocks are useful for projects requiring a lot of detail. They're especially good for posters, banners, signs, menus, greeting cards, and logos. Using a combination of straight edges and rulers, a person can trace over the outline of the block, resulting in perfectly shaped letters that will fit together seamlessly.
You'll often see linoleum advertised as having "perforations." What does that mean? Perforation simply means that spaces exist between the lines of letters. These perforations provide room for glues and adhesives to adhere to the backs of the letters or numbers. Without perforations, you'd have to glue every letter separately, and that would add a great deal of time and effort to your project.
It takes a lot of precision to cut a lino block successfully. If you want to learn how, read about the next page.
Creating a perfect rectangle isn't easy. A lino block needs to be measured precisely so that the final product looks consistent. That means proper measurements, straight edges, and accurate angles.
When cutting a lino block, you'll use different kinds of tools depending on whether you're working with a square, triangle, or irregular shape. Square and triangular shapes are easier to cut accurately than irregular ones. Squares and triangles can be measured by laying the object along a ruler and marking the edge with a pencil. Irregular objects should be marked with a compass or protractor.
Compasses and protractors can also help you set up an angle correctly. Set the base of the protractor or compass parallel to the edge being measured. Angle 1 is defined as 90 degrees. Angle 2 is opposite 90 degrees. Angle 3 is 45 degrees. Angle 4 is 135 degrees. Angles 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 are based on multiples of 15 degrees. Angles 13, 14, 15 are based on multiples of 30 degrees. Angles 16, 17, 18 are based on multiples of 60 degrees. Angles 19, 20, 21 are based on multiples of 120 degrees.