Print experts! I need to know what kind of print this is.
December 10, 2015 5:21 AM   Subscribe

Is this a woodcut or an etching or what?

This is a print made by Eduard Wiiralt in 1933. It's pencil signed under the print. I need to know exactly what technique he used to make this. There is no plate impression as you would find with a copper plate engraving. It's on fairly thin paper, and there's no embossing at all, i.e. the ink is very much on the surface of the paper. This is a picture of the back. I am not an expert, and am looking for opinions of people who know more than I do. Thanks!
posted by crazylegs to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
I’m not an expert, but my first thought is that it looks like a mezzotint.
posted by misteraitch at 5:40 AM on December 10, 2015

I'm not an expert. But it looks like a stipple engraving - a metal plate mezzotint.
posted by Miko at 5:42 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

apparently it's a wood engraving. source.

edit: interesting context on absinthe use.
posted by andrewcooke at 5:43 AM on December 10, 2015

a more reputable source.
posted by andrewcooke at 5:51 AM on December 10, 2015

(incidentally, and i am also no expert, i think it needs to be an engraving on a fairly soft medium because it looks like he used some kind of knurled wheel to do dashed lines. it could be some kind of regularly toothed mezzotint rocker, but even there, to get such a deep, clear, impression i think you'd need quite a soft surface).
posted by andrewcooke at 6:02 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think it is a lithograph. The rounded corners like a litho stone and the elaborate detail, and tonal quality. Lithography and photography got together to make very rich and complex black and white images in the day. Litho is complicated but rewarding way to make reproductions of detailed work.
posted by Oyéah at 6:21 PM on December 10, 2015

I solved the mystery!

The word written in pencil in the lower right corner, which I thought was a location, is actually "puulõige", which is Estonian for woodcut. So if Eduard Wiiralt says it's a woodcut, I assume it is.

Thanks for all the help!
posted by crazylegs at 6:54 PM on December 10, 2015

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