What is a serigraph?
Serigraphy, also called silk-screening or screen printing, is the oldest form of printmaking, first appearing in China during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD).
In the 1930s, a group of New York artists began experimenting with silkscreening and coined the term “serigraphy” [a combination of the Latin word seri (silk) and the Greek word graphein (to write or draw)] to describe their work. The term “serigraphy’ distinguished their original prints from those produced for commercial purposes. Andy Warhol is generally regarded as having popularized the serigraph in the 1960s.
Serigraph as original artworks
Unlike the reproduction print which is a colour image of an existing artwork, the serigraph is an original artwork.
To produce an original serigraph, the artist creates the master image which is transferred by stencil or photo emulsion to a mesh screen stretched across a wooden frame. The screen is laid directly onto a piece of paper and pigment is pressed through the mesh to create the image. Each colour requires a separate layer, or “pull”, and the final serigraph may be the result of tens of pulls, layered on top of each other. A single series may take months to produce.
In limited edition runs, the master image is marked or destroyed to prevent further additions to the series.