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Offset Lithograph Prints

Offset lithograph prints were developed in the 20th century. They are based on the principles of the traditional lithography process, which relies on the repulsion between water and oil. Nearly all modern posters, newspapers, and magazines with images and print are produced by some variation of offset lithography, connecting this modern printing method to the history of printmaking as a way to mass produce images for commercial means.

Offset lithography is largely a commercial, industrial process, making use of advancements in 20th century chemical and plastic technology. Instead of a limestone block, printers use a polymer or aluminum support that contains a photosensitive chemical. A photographic negative is exposed on to plate to create the image.

Large printing presses have sophisticated inking and dampening systems to prepare the plate for printing, as well as mechanical reels that feed the paper against the inked, dampened plate. To remove the excess water and ink, which adheres to the image emulsion, the plate first contacts a rubber blanket that transfers the image to the paper, thus offsetting the two components.


Quick Facts

  • Color is applied to offset lithographs in a four color system. Plates are created in cyan, magenta, yellow and black, and then impressions are made in all four colors, mixing them to produce the desired image
  • Contemporary artists such as Takashi Murakami have experimented with the method as an artistic tool to create signed, limited edition works
  • Artists have also experimented with manipulating offset lithographs after the run is produced to create a single, original custom work

Recommended Items at Auction

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Keith Haring, 1958-1990, Italia 83
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Keith Haring, 1958-1990, Italia 83
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF200- CHF300
CHF2604 Bids
Christopher Wool Offset Lithograph, "Hypnotist"
Jun 29, 12:00 PM EDT
Christopher Wool Offset Lithograph, "Hypnotist"
by RB Fine Arts
Est: $200- $400
$803 Bids
Candida Höfer, 1944, Monographie
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Candida Höfer, 1944, Monographie
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF400- CHF600
CHF3601 Bid
Sam Francis, 1923-1994, Untitled, from "National Collection of Fine Arts Portfolio"
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Sam Francis, 1923-1994, Untitled, from "National Collection of Fine Arts Portfolio"
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF800- CHF1,200
CHF7001 Bid
Portfolio, , John Armleder/Silvie Fleury
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Portfolio, , John Armleder/Silvie Fleury
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF800- CHF1,200
CHF7000 Bids
Jannis Kounellis, 1936-2017, 2 sheets: Elektra, 1972; Untitled
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Jannis Kounellis, 1936-2017, 2 sheets: Elektra, 1972; Untitled
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF600- CHF1,000
CHF5000 Bids
Simon Patterson, 1967, Rhodes Reason
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Simon Patterson, 1967, Rhodes Reason
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF300- CHF400
CHF2600 Bids
Christo, 1935-2020, 2 posters: Surrounded Islands
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Christo, 1935-2020, 2 posters: Surrounded Islands
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF300- CHF500
CHF2600 Bids
Richard Artschwager, 1923-2013, Portfolio. The Hydraulic Door Check
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Richard Artschwager, 1923-2013, Portfolio. The Hydraulic Door Check
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF400- CHF600
CHF3600 Bids
Barbara Kruger, 1945, 2 multiples: I shop therefore I am, 1990; I shop therefore I am, approx. 2000
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Barbara Kruger, 1945, 2 multiples: I shop therefore I am, 1990; I shop therefore I am, approx. 2000
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF500- CHF800
CHF4400 Bids
Thomas Hirschhorn, 1957, 2 works: Power of Brazil, 2006; Qu'est-ce que la philosophie?, 2003
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Thomas Hirschhorn, 1957, 2 works: Power of Brazil, 2006; Qu'est-ce que la philosophie?, 2003
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF400- CHF600
CHF3600 Bids
Christo, 1935-2020, Wrapped Reichstag
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Christo, 1935-2020, Wrapped Reichstag
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF300- CHF500
CHF2600 Bids
René Burri, 1933-2014, São Paulo
Jun 25, 5:00 PM CEST
René Burri, 1933-2014, São Paulo
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF500- CHF700
CHF4400 Bids
Fernando Botero, 1932-2023, Pedrito
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Fernando Botero, 1932-2023, Pedrito
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF1,000- CHF1,500
CHF9000 Bids
Portfolio, , Landschaften
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Portfolio, , Landschaften
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF1,500- CHF2,000
CHF1,3000 Bids
Richard Artschwager, 1923-2013, Portfolio. The Hydraulic Door Check
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Richard Artschwager, 1923-2013, Portfolio. The Hydraulic Door Check
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF400- CHF600
CHF3600 Bids
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ROBERT INDIANA, LIBERTY, OFFSET LITHOGRAPH
Jul 01, 9:00 AM EDT
ROBERT INDIANA, LIBERTY, OFFSET LITHOGRAPH
by RoGallery
Est: $350- $450
$2750 Bids
HR Giger, 1940-2014, Isis
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
HR Giger, 1940-2014, Isis
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF500- CHF900
CHF4400 Bids
Bernd & Hilla Becher, , Four silos
Jun 25, 5:00 PM CEST
Bernd & Hilla Becher, , Four silos
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF500- CHF800
CHF4400 Bids
John R. Coplans, 1920-2003, Untitled, from the series "Hand Xeroxes"
Jun 25, 5:00 PM CEST
John R. Coplans, 1920-2003, Untitled, from the series "Hand Xeroxes"
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF300- CHF500
CHF2600 Bids
Andreas Gursky, 1955, Montparnasse
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Andreas Gursky, 1955, Montparnasse
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF500- CHF800
CHF4400 Bids
Francis Bacon, 1909-1992, Exhibition poster. Francis Bacon, Grand Palais, 27 octobre - 10 janvier 1972
Jun 26, 5:00 PM CEST
Francis Bacon, 1909-1992, Exhibition poster. Francis Bacon, Grand Palais, 27 octobre - 10 janvier 1972
by Germann Auction House Ltd
Est: CHF800- CHF1,200
CHF7000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Offset Lithograph Prints


Germann Auction House Ltd

Germann Auction House Ltd

RoGallery

RoGallery

RB Fine Arts

RB Fine Arts