Degas and printmaking – Monotypes

Posted by on Jun 1, 2016 in News | 0 comments

Degas and printmaking – Monotypes

I returned to West Dean to learn about Edgar Degas and his pioneering Monotypes with Caroline Wendling of Wysing Arts Centre.

There was confusion about the difference between a monotype and mono print – it was good to get that cleared up.

Monotype: is one of a kind, completely unique and made from inking a plate (originally an etching plate, but now it may be glass or plastic) and then drawing into it. The one I have shown was drawn on our first experimental night where inked a plate with a roller, applied a piece of paper and then drew into it.

Degas, who first re-introduced the monotype, often worked into the monotype with pastels. Apparently later in life he is reputed to have said “I should only have used black and white.”



Monoprint : is also made from a plate but it may be one of a series, albeit each slightly different,  and there may be use of added found materials such as material or lace or leaves.

Degas created monotypes prolifically and was one of the first to observe people at work and in movement. Influenced by Japanese prints – that arrived in Europe wrapped around porcelain – he started to move subjects to the periphery of the image, only part of a person, building or other object would be seen.

We are so used to this now that we do not even realise that it was an innovation.

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