linocut

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linocut

1. a design cut in relief on linoleum mounted on a wooden block
2. a print made from such a design

Linocut

 

(also linoleum cut), a raised engraving on linoleum or on a similar polymer plastic material; the process is similar to woodcut and wood engraving. Linocut was introduced in the early 20th century. Many printmakers were immediately attracted by the distinctive qualities of the medium. A laconic artistic language and sharp contrasts of black and white can be achieved in linocuts. The softness of the linoleum results in lush and supple lines. The process is fast, and large blocks and colored inks can be used. A great number of copies are produced.

At times stylistically similar to wood engraving, linocut basically developed along another path. However, it frequently influenced the style of contemporary woodcuts and wood engravings (for example, the work of F. Masereel and the German expressionists). By the middle of the 20th century, several schools of linocutting had developed. The technique was particularly popular in the countries of Latin America. Linocuts were made by the engravers of the Workshop of People’s Graphics in Mexico (L. Méndez, A. Beltrán, A. García Bustos), by the members of the Club of Friends of Engraving in Brazil (C. Scliar, R. Katz, V. Prado), by A. R. Vigo and N. Onofrio in Argentina, and by C. Hermosiglia Alvarez in Chile. The process was often used by H. Matisse and P. Picasso (France), E. Packard and B. Randall (USA), and P. Nielsen (Denmark).

The linocut quickly became a part of the technique used by such Russian printmakers as V. D. Zamirailo, I. N. Pavlov, D. I. Mitrokhin, and O. V. Rozanova. Important Soviet masters of this medium have included V. D. Falileev, K. E. Kostenko, P. N. Staronosov, I. A. Sokolov, and V. A. Favorskii. Soviet linocut printing reached the height of its development in the late 1950’s and the 1960’s. National schools of linocutting have formed in many of the Union republics.

REFERENCES

Staronosov, P. N. Graviura na linoleume. Moscow-Leningrad, 1938.
Pavlov, I., and M. Matorin. Tekhnika graviury na dereve i linoleume. Moscow, 1952.
Levitin, E. S. Sovremennaia grafika kapitalisticheskikh stran Evropy i Ameriki. Moscow, 1959.
Leont’eva, G. K. Dorogoi poiska. Leningrad-Moscow, 1965.

E. S. LEVITIN

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