Wood and linocut prints are known as relief printing, in which images are incised, gouged, or shaved into blocks of either wood or linoleum, and the raised surface is inked to create the print when impressed on paper. When artists want a color print, they have to carve separate blocks, which is a painstaking process, so many wood and linocut prints are monochromatic.
Wood and linocut prints have different histories -- one as old as art itself and the other a fairly recent art form from the 20th century. Wood-cut printing dates at least to the 12th century in Europe. The master of the genre is Albrecht Durer, the famed German whose work is still praised for its intricacy of detail. Linocuts became an art form only after the invention of linoleum in 1860. First practiced by the German Expressionists and Russian Constructivists in the early 1900s, linocuts became an accepted fine art when Picasso released his Bachannals suite of linocuts in 1939.
The most prized antiquarian wood and linocut prints are original woodcut prints published in the late 1700s by Johannes Skippe, based on religious paintings by the masters Raphael, Parmigiano, and Michelangelo. Antique collectibles also include woodcut prints by Nicholas Le Seuer in the early 1700s, also centered around the religious and allegorical paintings of Raphael, Cesari, Farinati, and other masters. Highly collectible wood cut and linocut prints include reproductions of the original 1939 Bacchanals, re-issued as original lithographs from reduced-scaled linocuts created in 1962 by Galerie Louise Leiris under Picassos direction.
The majority of collectible wood and linocut prints, whether vintage or contemporary, are originals, limited editions, or artist proofs and are signed. Shop wood and linocut prints from full portfolio collections or single prints. For collectible woodcut prints, look for 20th century artists such as Paul Acoulet, Aristide Maillo, Meta Cohn Hendel, Irving Amen, and Fumio Fajita. For linocuts, look for Margaret Whittemore, Walter Anderson, Alberto Magnelli, George Nama, and Georges Braque.
What better way to capture a piece of artistic history that with a woodcut or linocut print?