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antique lithographic presses in action


print lithographs
Perfection
All of the presses that print lithographs in the Ré Collection were originally powered by steam. In fact, this wheel is turning just as a steam locomotive's engine wheel turns, with an arm fixed to an outer rim on one end and the flat bed press on another. The wheel is designed to drive the flat bed press forwards and backwards, so that the impression of each unique plate can be made onto the paper. After each forward/backward motion, an assistant pulls a print from the press, while another assistant, feeds a new piece in. Each piece of paper must be placed in the machine repeatedly, until all the colours and impressions have been completed to create a final image. The S2 curating department carefully examines and numbers each final lithograph sequentially in pencil, making certain that each and every one is perfect. Imperfect prints are discarded and are never part of the edition.
Master Printer Raymond Mazza

Master Printer Raymond Mazza.

He's been working on these ancient presses for about thirty years, and says they almost never break down so long as they receive constant care and maintenance.
Photolitho Fusion - lithograph art posters

Feeding the big machine.
Despite the demanding, highly repetitive nature of this work, and the necessity for all team members to operate in synch, misfeeds and other errors are extremely rare. The presses originally used giant stone plates, but have since been retrofitted with metal plates in a process developed at S2 called Photolitho Fusion.
museum-quality fine art paper - posters

Archival paper
They can't spare a square, the archival paper is too expensive. S2 Editions Atelier inventories an extensive selection of museum-quality European, Japanese and American fine art papers.
Lithograph art poster being pulled from the press

Pulling from the press

This print, Pop Star, from a collection by Tom Everhart, is being pulled from a gorgeous Marinoni Voirin flatbed press. S2 estimates there are seven of these machines left in the world, and they are the proud owners of five of them.





antique flatbed presses

Antique flatbed presses
Because S2 uses antique flatbed presses, colour is printed with maximum pigment saturation, many times more than any modern press could ever possibly hope to achieve. This gives the art a permanency of brilliance which has proven itself over the centuries.
Hand altered colour separation - gig posters

These Marinoni Voirin
flatbed presses

are the same machines used in the legendary 19 th and early 20 th Century ateliers of Paris to produce original works of lithographic multiple fine art by great masters such as Alphonse Mucha, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Joan Miró, Henri Matisse, Alexander Calder and many more.
Golden era of poster art

A table where colours are mixed and matched
The Chromist has already noted what colours will be used, so the Master Printer mixes colours here based on predetermined decisions.


vintage lithographic poster art

Hand mixed colours
Each colour is matched by eye and mixed by hand to achieve the desired transparency or opacity, as well as the rich tones that can come from using pure pigments.
Colour is matched by eye and mixed by hand

Achieving rich vibrant colours
Each colour is printed singly from colour that is mixed by hand, layering one colour atop the next to achieve a rich vibrancy in the colour combinations.  

contemporary silkscreen prints
Why Photolitho Fusion ?
When art is printed commercially, it is generally broken down into 4 prime colours, which are then printed uniformly to quickly achieve a moderate range of colours. However, the commercial process was born of the need to get printing done as quickly and cheaply as possible. Photolitho Fusion, at the opposite end of the spectrum, is a wholly unique printing process for three reasons: the creation of plates, the mixture of inks to achieve the finished product, and the uniqueness of the presses from which the prints are pulled. The process involves using plates that are created from colour separations and are then altered by hand using several techniques. It is this combination of photographically sourced material and hand-manipulated plates had makes our Photolitho Fusion plates unique.


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