Reference Entry

Senefelder, Aloys or Alois or Johann Nepomuk Franz Alois

in Benezit Dictionary of Artists

ISBN: 9780199773787
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199899913 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/benz/9780199773787.article.B00167571
Senefelder, Aloys or Alois or Johann Nepomuk Franz Alois

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Czech, 18th – 19th century, male.

Born 6 November 1771, in Prague; died 26 February 1834, in Munich, Germany.

Lithographer, dramatist.

Senefelder was the son of an actor who wanted him to be a lawyer and sent him to the University of Ingolstadt (Bavaria), Germany. Senefelder, however, wanted to be a dramatist and produced a number of unsuccessful plays. When the death of his father deprived him of the means of having his works printed, he looked for a way to reproduce them by a process other than typography, and began a series of experiments with copper-plates, a burin and etching. In order to save himself the expense of copper, he decided to use Kelheim limestone, which he discovered was suitable for the purpose. By chance, in the absence of paper, he scribbled down a laundry list with a grease pencil on the corner of a piece of Bavarian limestone prepared for etching (acid mixture in which a plate is immersed to be bitten or etched), which led him to attempt an engraving in relief, using the areas washed with ink as resistance to the action of the acid instead of the intaglio process used for etching. His first attempt was successful enough for him to take the experiment further, and after a time, due to the special grease pencil, his technique was put into practice. Senefelder sought a commercial footing for his endeavour and became highly successful. In ...

Reference Entry.  359 words. 

Subjects: Prints and Printmaking ; 19th-Century Art ; 18th-Century Art

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