Lithography is based upon the fact that oil and water do not mix. It was invented in 1796 by German author and actor Alois Senefelder as a cheap method of publishing theatrical works. Lithography is done with polished stones or metal.
Lithography originally used an image drawn with oil, fat, or wax onto the surface of a smooth, level lithographic limestone plate. The stone was treated with a mixture of acid and gum arabic, etching the portions of the stone which were not protected by the grease-based image. When the stone was subsequently moistened, these etched areas retained water; an oil-based ink could then be applied and would be repelled by the water, sticking only to the original drawing. The ink would finally be transferred to a blank paper sheet, producing a printed page. This traditional technique is still used in some fine art printmaking applications……….Murfreesboronet
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The intent of a lithograph is to let the artist speak through the stone.
The artist-as-printer has an intimate relationship with the tools of lithography—the inks, the stones or plates, the sticks and brushes. That relationship is no less subjective than that of a painter to his canvas, paints and brushes. Lithography is a beautiful artistic medium in itself, and should not be judged on its ability to imitate another medium…..The Collector’s guide