From stone to chip
Alois Senefelder and the invention of lithography in an international context
The annual AEPM conference was hosted by the Nederlands Steendrukmuseum (Dutch museum of lithography) in Valkenswaard (Netherlands) from 3-5 November 2016.
It was jointly organised with the IADM (Internationaler Arbeitskreis für Druck- und Mediengeschichte).
Lithography. Few people know what it is, and even fewer know how it works. Yet we are permanently surrounded by documents and objects printed by this long-established process. Introduced in the early years of the 19th century, lithography mutated in the early 20th century to become offset lithography which went on to replace letterpress as the principal industrial printing process.
Despite its now venerable age and its current position as the predominant printing process, lithography occupies a relatively minor position in the literature of printing history as well as in most printing museums. Why so? Should it be more present in printing museums? And if so, what are the perspectives for research on the history of lithography and for the exhibition and mediation of the machines and products of lithography and the major role which this technique has played in the development of graphic communications since the beginning of the 19th century?
It is hoped that the conference will also provide an opportunity to bring together museums, people and ideas with a view to discussing the possibility of producing a travelling exhibition about lithography in 2018, on the anniversary of the publication of Aloys Senefelder’s manual of lithography.
Talks are in English unless otherwise indicated.
Thursday 3 November
13.00 – 17.00
Arrival of participants
At the Dutch museum of lithography.
18.00 – 18.30
Drinks and snacks in the Carolus cultural centre which houses the Dutch museum of lithography.
18.30 – 18.45
Chair IADM, Offenbach, Germany
Presentation of the conference theme
18.45 – 19.30
NanoCMOS-Training BV, Heeze, The Netherlands
On graduated from the Technical University of Eindhoven Harry Veendrick joined Philips Research Laboratories where he has been involved in the design of memories, gate arrays and complex digital video-signal processors. He has taught, lectured and published extensively in the fields of microelectronics and micro-chip technologies.
Micro-electronic chips and lithography
19.30 – 19.45
Mayor of Valkenswaard
To be confirmed
19.45 – 21.00
21.00 – 22.00
Presentation of the highlights of the Museum
With, among other things, a contribution by master printer Gertjan Forrer on the various stone printing techniques of the past, present and near future.
22.00 – 23.00
Informal discussions and drinks
Friday 4 November
09.00 – 09.20
Peter L. Vrijdag / Frank van Oortmerssen
Nederlands Steendrukmuseum, Valkenswaard, The Netherlands
Chair, AEPM, Lyon, France
09.20 – 10.00
IADM / International Senefelder Foundation, Offenbach am Main, Germany
Associate scientist at the German Institute for International Educational Research (DIPF), Harry Ness has worked extensively in the fields of competence research (development of portfolio instruments for competence assessment) and printing history (publications on the history of education in printing). Since 2000 he has been Chairman of the IADM and co-editor of the Journal for printing history in Deutscher Drucker and, since 2016 board member of the International Senefelder Foundation.
Media archeology: suggestions of a new discipline for new tasks
(Conference in German)
Research topics in the relatively new field of media archeology open new perspectives for the next chapter in printing and media history. In the first instance it is concerned with the identification and preservation of the materials, equipment and tools of communication (hardware). It also deals with the analysis and long-term archiving of information available in digital form (software).
An example will be provided by the conservation of stocks of lithographic stones from the Hessian State Museum in Darmstadt with a discussion of the possibility of creating a “stone library” as a national priority based on a chance find of litho stones from the Notendruckerei André during the construction of the S-Bahn in Offenbach (Germany).
The new forms of data transmission, both analogue and digital, which appeared in the 20th and 21st centuries raise questions about the use of sound recordings, computer collections, diskettes, hard drives, pictures, magnetic disks, etc. Who were their producers, what technologies did they use, and who were the user groups? At the same time problems of obtaining changing programs on computers, mobile phones and smartphones come into focus. Privacy, accurate data transfer and meeting the cost of maintaining databases and making tham accessible, receipt of readability, digital rights management, etc., open new discussion concerning research and archiving, in which the IADM and the AEPM are involved. Because the electronically evolving cultural artefacts of art, pictures, sound,s writing and language threaten to permanently disappear, their current reception is forgotten tomorrow.
10.00 – 10.40
Emeritus professor, Department of typography & graphic communication, University of Reading, United Kingdom. He has taught there for over half a century and has also been a visiting teacher at Rare Book Schools in Virginia, Lyon, Wellington and Melbourne. He has written papers on a variety of graphic topics as well as over a dozen books. Many of his publications explore aspects of the history of lithography, the latest being A history of chromolithography: printed colour for all (British Library and Oak Knoll Books, 2013). In his retirement he serves as Director of the Centre for ephemera studies at Reading.
An examination of some early British lithographic stones
The talk will focus on a collection of 56 lithographic stones, nearly all bearing work dating from the first half of the 1820s. The images on them relate to the archaeological discoveries of the Egyptologist William John Bankes, a friend of Byron, and heir to the family estate of Kingston Lacy (Dorset, UK), where the stones have languished for almost two centuries. Most of the stones show inscriptions that were drawn on stone in ink by George Scharf, a few others bear crayon drawings of archaeological monuments. The stones were prepared for printing, and in some cases printed for publication, by Charles Hullmandel, the leading British lithographer of the day. His imprint appears on most of the stones, in many cases with the date 27 November 1821. Most stones also bear the ownership marks of their printer (‘CH’ with a number), either painted on or carved into the underside of the stone. The reasons for this apparently unique practice will be discussed in the context of the early practice of hiring out stones, and particularly Hullmandel’s stated views on the matter.
The talk will be followed by a proposal for a census of major collections of litho stones.
10.40 – 11.10
11.10 – 11.50
Director of the Eichstaett lithography workshop, Eichstätt, Germany.
Li Portenlänger studied art, dance and the martial arts in Germany and New Zealand. She specialized in lithography in Brussels with Rudolf Broulim. She has exhibited and performed widely in Europe and China. Since 1998 she has been in charge of the Eichstätt lithographic workshop.
The invention of lithography and the Solnhofen quarries
Situated in what is today Bavaria, the quarrying region Solnhofen has a worldwide reputation for the quality of the litho stones which it produces. Its limestone quarries were exploited as early as Roman times and their stone was also used for the walls, floors and roofs of traditional farmhouses of this Jurassic region. A more sophisticated use of the yellow, grey and blue variants of this limestone was made by architects of abbeys, churches, castles, and the baroque homes of burghers. Attempts to print from stones had been made before Alois Senefelder invented lithography, but it was his ”chemical printing” that proved to be the veritable breakthrough in the field of planographic printing. The sucess of his printing process lead to massive quarrying of stones as of the early 19th century and many abandoned quarries were reopened. Limestone from the Solnhofen area was characterized by its purity, its homogeneity and its density which made it especially suitable for the production of large printing surfaces. In the course of the extraction of lithographic stone from the Solnhofen quarries many fossil-rich strata were uncovered, providing abundant material for paleontological research. A new variety of fossil found in the region was even given the name “Archaeopteryx lithographica”.
(Talk plus 11 minute film)
11.50 – 12.30
Gunnel Hedberg worked for 15 years as local head of cultural affairs before pursuing a 23 year career as a librarian in the field of applied health economics. Now retired, she is preparing a doctoral thesis in book history at the University of Lund on the subject of the early history of lithographic printing in Sweden. She has also written about two lithographic printers of more recent periods: Sven August Peterson and his son (the artist Hugo Birger), Salmson, and the royal engraver Christian Didrik Forssell.
The establishment of lithographic printing in Sweden
The first lithographers (Fehr and Müller) – two Germans and one of their sons – were invited to Sweden by the crown prince Jean Baptiste Bernadotte at his own expense. They started printing in Stockholm in spring of 1818. Fehr was also one of the early printers in Denmark and he later started the first lithographic printing office in Norway. These two first printers were followed by a long line of printing offices in Stockholm. In the first decade there were about nineteen, mostly operating as an ancillary activity to other occupations. The activities of these first lithographic printers have been followed through official documentation (often concerning bankruptcies) , personal correspondence, advertisements in newspapers, and the imprints which the printers used. The picture which results is one of keen competition and the high personal price which nearly all of them paid as pioneers.
12.30 – 13.30
13.30 – 14.10
Jan af Burén
Museum of lithography (Litografiska Museet), Huddinge, Sweden
After retiring from the Nationalmuseum (The National Museum of Fine Arts) in Stockholm Jan af Burén joined the board of Litografiska Museet in Huddinge near Stockholm. His doctoral thesis (1992) addressed the question of whether or not it is possible to define an “original print”. The answer was and is “no.” He has also written a book on the graphic collections of the Nationalmuseum (Prints. Art and knowledge on paper) and is preparing a work on the invention of lithography and its introduction to Sweden. He is currently working on the development of lithography in Sweden during the 19th Century.
Lithochromie or chromolithography. The introduction of chromolithography in Sweden.
Lithography was introduced in Sweden in 1818 by two German lithographers and printers at the request of the Swedish king, the former French Marshall Jean Bernadotte. Soon a good working knowledge of lithography was acquired but it was not until the beginning of the 1840s that chromolithography was introduced in Sweden. The introduction of this technique followed relied on the skills of immigrant German lithographers and imported handbooks, the most important of which was Heinrich Eduard Pescheck and Leo Bergmann’s Das Ganze des Steindrucks. Another source was Robert Bertram’s New Lithochromie, which was translated into Swedish in 1840. The same year Johann Friedrich Meyer from Berlin and Hamburg established J. F. Meyer & Co Lithographic Institute. In 1848 Meyer returned to Berlin to learn the latest techniques in chromolithography. In 1844 the Swedish lithographer Axel Jakob Salmson established a lithographic printing shop. His first chromolithographies were printed with the help of handbooks. In 1840 Robert Bertram’s book on lithochromie – a form of reproduction using oil colours – was translated into Swedish. A few years later the second edition of Peschek’s Das Ganze des Steindrucks was released. Here again the word lithochromie was used, but now meaning chromolithography. Both Meyer and Salmson followed the techniques described in the book, which combined working with several colour stones and hand coloured details. Later, at the beginning of the 1860s, Meyer and Salmson printed true chromolithographies. From then on the technique of chromolithography spread to all important lithographic workshops in Sweden.
14.10 – 14.50
Johan de Zoete
Haarlem, The Netherlands
Johan de Zoete is well-known both as a graphic craftsman and as a specialist in the field of 19th century reproduction processes, some of which (Woodburytype photogravure and photolithography for example) he has successfully reconstituted and put into practice. He has written extensively on these subjects and for many years gave master classes on the identification of old reproduction processes. From 1996 until 2016 he was curator of the Enschedé Museum in Haarlem, The Netherlands. A former president of the Association of European Printing Museums, he runs his own private press: The Rather Obscure Press of Johan de Zoete.
Photolithography: the beginnings
Directly after the invention of photography experimenters tried to apply the principles of this new technique to printing. The earliest experiments were made in intaglio. The daguerreotype consisted of a photographic image on a silvered copperplate, and copper was a material printers were familiar with. Around 1855 the Frenchman Alphonse Poitevin developed a process of photolithography that gave acceptable results. The method wasn’t very practical though. The biggest problem was the rendering of the continuous tones of the original. Other methods were effective as long as the original consisted of pure black and white. This didn’t give spectacular results and was confined to artwork like drawings, not photographs of the ‘real world’. A method like that of Colonel Henry James Scott in Southampton, ‘photozincography’, was however used with some success in the production of facsimiles of old texts. Another process was based on an invention by Eduard Isaac Asser, an Amsterdam-based amateur photographer. His method was adopted by several printing firms, even though it also failed in the true rendering of continuous tones. A later development was Charles Eckstein’s ‘Steenheliogravure’, which was used to make some stunning pictures. With the invention of halftone photography using a screen, around 1881, the technique of representing continuous tones by dots of various sizes was successfully applied to lithographic printing.
14.50 – 15.30
15.30 – 16.10
Development of correction processes in the reproduction of images
(Conference in German)
16.10 – 16.50
International Senefelder Foundation, Offenbach, Germany.
The former founding director of the DASA in Dortmund trained in physics and philosophy. He has for may years been a part-time visual artist. In in the 1970s he was involved, as an artist-lithographer, in the construction and operation of lithography workshops in Tübingen, Trier, Heidelberg and Mannheim. After many years of museum activities, he is now – besides his many honorary offices – chairman of the board of the International Senefelder Foundation (ISS).
(Conference in German)
Alois Senefelder’s lithography was from the beginning not only an important printing technology for reproduction of works of art. It was also used as an artistic medium by many artists. Lithographs were usually prepared and printed by experts.
Since Senefelder’s time, however, artistic lithography undergone considerable development in the post-industrial period. Similarly, the professional expertise has disappeared along with the necessary materials for this demanding printing process. Experiments and creative new approaches developed by artists have, on the other hand, created completely different and new possibilities with lithography. Rarely has an industrial technique experienced such a change in the hands of artists after its decline.
Gerhard Kilger will illustrate these changes with examples taken from among the winners of the International Senefelder Award.
16.50 – 17.30
Trained in offset and collotype printing, worked as an offset printer, studied painting and graphics at the Academy of visual arts in Leipzig. For 25 years he is an artistic associate at the college, he manages the workshop for artistic offset printing, and he is the artistic director of the educational workshop for lithography.
Between original and reproduction: lithography and hand offset printing in artistic practice
(Conference in German)
Since its invention, lithography has lost none of its attraction for artists. Although it has been largely replaced by offset printing for commercial work, artistic printing from stone is still very much alive.
Offset printing also provides niches that are of interest to artists. While lithography is mainly used by practitioners of painting and drawing, hand offset printing is if particular interest for photographers and media artists. The similarities and specificities of both techniques will be discussed in the presentation which will also provide an insight into the work of a hand offset workshop and a lithography workshop at the Academy of visual arts in Leipzig.
17.30 – 17.45
17.45 – 19.15
Annual general meeting of the AEPM
19.15 – 20.00
20.00 – 24.00
Buffet and musical evening
Saturday 5 November
09.00 – 10.00
Annual general meeting of the IADM
10.00 – 10.40
Director, German Newspaper Museum, Wadgassen, Germany.
Born in 1959, Roger Münch studied book and printing history, German studies and philosophy at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz. From 1983 till 1987 he worked at State Museum of Technology and Work in Mannheim (now called the Technoseum). He subsequently taught, lectured and published at the Institute of Book Sciences in Mainz. Since 2003 he has been in charge of the German Newspaper Museum.
The importance of being Alois or from stone to chip. Some aspects of a travelling exhibition
Although history has shown very clearly the epochal significance which the various lithographic techniques have for the printing industry, the name of the inventor of the lithographic process, Alois Senefelder, is still little known among the general public. Why is this the case? This question was the starting point of the idea to produce a travelling exhibition on the subject. For many years now – decades even – both the Nederlands Steendrukmuseum and the International Senefelder Foundation (ISS) have been trying to remedy this deficit. As board members of ISS Peter-Louis Vrijdag and Roger Münch began to develop and to promote the idea of a Europe-wide special exhibition. Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s famous play, “The importance of being Alois” is aimed at raising interest in this exciting inventor personality of the modern age, showing how the principle of lithography continues to affect the modern communication technology.
10.40 – 11.10
11.10 – 12.30
News from museums and discussion
12.30 – 13.45
In the Carolus cultural centre.
13.45 – 17.45
Visit to the National playing card museum, Turnhout
Joseph Belletante, Musée de l’imprimerie et de la communication graphique, Lyon, France
José B. Bermejo, Imprenta Municipal – Artes del Libro, Madrid
Peter Best, Büttelborn, Germany
Jürgen Bönig, Stiftung Historische Museen Hamburg, Germany
Robin Boone, MIAT, Ghent, Belgium
Jan af Burén, Litografiska Museet, Sunby Gård, Sweden (speaker)
Robert Clerebaut, Imprimerie Clerebaut, Brussels, Belgium
Filip Cremers, Nationaal Museum van de Speelkaart, Turnhout, Belgium
Marjon de Graaf, Stichting Drukkerij Museum, Maastricht, Netherlands
Andrea De Pasquale, Museo Bodoniano, Parma, Italy
Johan de Zoete, Photomechanical processes, Utrecht, Netherlands
Rolf Demmerle, Heidelberg, Germany
Renate Dölzer, Technoseum Landesmuseum für Technik und Arbeit, Mannheim, Germany
Jean Drache, Germany (speaker)
Gert-Jan Forrer, Nederlands Steendrukmuseum, Valkenswaard, The Netherlands
Patrick Goossens, Antwerp, Belgium
Thomas Gravemaker, LetterpressAmsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Gunnel Hedberg, Malmö, Sweden (speaker)
Joan Hemels, Malden, The Nederlands
Michael Hermes, DASA Arbeitswelt-Ausstellung, Dortmund, Germany
Paul Jessop, St Bride Foundation, London, United Kingdom
Gerhard Kilger, Internationale Senefelder-Stiftung, Offenbach, Germany (speaker)
Elia Koumi, Typography Museum, Chania, Crete, Greece
Franca Lagenwalder, Deutsches Museum Münich, Germany
Bernard Langlois, Amis du Musée de l’imprimerie et de la communications graphique, Lyon
Bernard Langlois, Amis du Musée de l’imprimerie et de la communications graphique, Lyon
Dietmar Liebsch, Historische Druckwerkstatt D. Liebsch, Berlin, Germany.
Alan Marshall, AEPM, Lyon, France
Birgitta Modigh, Litografiska Museet, Sunby Gård, Sweden
Gerty Mohr, Darmstadt, Germany
Roger Münch, Deutsches Zeitungsmuseum, Wadgassen, Germany (speaker)
Sonja Neumann, Deutsches Museum Munich, Germany
Li Portenlänger, Lithographie-Werkstatt Eichstätt, Germany (speaker)
Susanne Richter, Museum für Drukkunst, Leipzig, Germany
Colin Rickard, Germany
Hanns-Peter Schöbel, Schutterwald, Germany (speaker)
Eckehart SchumacherGebler, Offizin Haag-Drugulin, Dresden, Germany
Sue Shaw, The Type Archive, London, United Kingdom
Peter Stephan, Grafikwerkstatt, Dresden, Germany
Ronald Steur, Stichting Lettergieten, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Ingrid Lise Tjemsland, Norwegian Printing Museum, Stavanger, Norway
May Tove Nyrud, Norwegian Printing Museum, Stavanger, Norway
Michael Twyman, Department of typography & graphic communication, Reading, United Kingdom (speaker)
Karel van der Waarde, Graphic Design – Research, Elewijt, Belgium
Frank van Oortmerssen, Nederlands Steendrukmuseum, Valkenswaard, The Netherlands
Harry Veendrick, NanoCMOS-Training BV, Heeze, The Netherlands (speaker)
Peter L. Vrijdag, Nederlands Steendrukmuseum, Valkenswaard, The Netherlands
Kerstin Wallbach, Deutsche Technikmuseum, Berlin, Germany
This post is also available in: French