Serigraphy is a modern printmaking process with ancient
antecedents. Its heritage lies in the hand stencils of prehistoric
cave art. In the 20th century, serigraphy was made popular by
the Pop artists of the 1960s – Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist
and Roy Lichtenstein – and also by the more abstract Op artists
of the same period.
Serigraphy, or screenprinting, is a complicated, labor-intensive
printing process. The serigraphic process incorporates the use of
fine mesh screens to hand separate the colors of the image.
Originally, these screen were made of silk, hence the name by
which this process is also known – silk screening. To produce
a serigraphic print, a separate stencil-like screen is made for
each area that is to be printed in one color of ink. The ink is
then squeegeed through the screen onto the paper. The inks sit
on top of the heavy paper on which the final serigraph is
produced. A the ink is not absorbed by the paper as in other
processes, the ink sits on top like a multi-colored skin of ink.
The final serigraphic print actually looks like a painting on
Serigraphs are particularly well suited to works of vibrant color
because the process produces prints of exceptional brilliance,
and the fine, stencil-screen produce prints true to the individual
style and brushwork of the artist. Serigraphs are also used to
achieve subtle blends of color – nearly imperceptible gradations
that move from one color to another.
Serigraphy is an excellent example of the evolution of art media;
it is a process that has passed from the hands of prehistoric men
to those of today’s most contemporary artists.
© 1992 Mill Pond Press, Inc.