Color Woodcuts & Linocuts
While relief prints are the oldest printmaking technique, woodcuts remained monochromatic for a long time in the Western Hemisphere. While color made its appearance in woodcuts first in Japan and in China later in the 17th century, it remained fairly uncommon in the West. And while color became prevalent for woodcuts in Japan in particular as of the 18th century, color printmaking in the West only really gained broad appeal in the late 19th century. Since then, the attraction for color woodcuts, and for its more modern pier, the color linocut, has not ceased to grow, with artists and collectors alike. Today, many printmakers try their hand at color relief, often starting with linoleum, then moving on to carving wood. The combination of color, and the grain of wood often detected in these impressions, has become of creative and collectible appeal. But whether or not the matrix can be detected in these prints, it seems the combination of color and line has won over many print collectors to the realm of color woodcuts.
Frances H. GEARHART