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Promoted item:ERNIE BARNES "SUGAR SHACK" AFRICAN-AMERICAN ART PRINT

ERNIE BARNES "SUGAR SHACK" AFRICAN-AMERICAN ART PRINT

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About Natural History Print

The story of natural history prints begins in the 1800s, when romantics and realists battled for control of the Western European artistic tradition. Early botanists worked long hours to develop taxonomy schemes. Yet these initial attempts to categorize the natural world were at best piecemeal. Natural history printers didn't communicate with each other except through drawn out, ineffective letter correspondences.In 1788, a Bohemian invented a technology called lithography, which allowed artists to make replications of artistic works. At first, lithography only allowed for black and white reproductions. However, in the early 1800s, chromolithography was introduced. Spain's prominent painter, Goya, used lithography to assist in the design of his seminal work, 'The Bulls of Bordeaux.' In the wake of Goya's success, other artists across the continent decided to give this new technology a try.Soon, artists and naturalists from the United States began to employ chromolithography in their artistic works and natural history prints. John Audubon, among others, created sweeping illustrations of colorful birds. Cartographers drew up detailed land plots. Even novelists got into the game, peppering their books with lithographic plates to illustrate particularly exciting or emotionally critical moments.Given the sophisticated engineering involved in lithographic copying, few natural history prints survive from the early half of the 19th-century. Any surviving natural print lithographs from this period that are in good condition tend to sell well. Eclectic collectors may even purposely go after offset natural print lithographs, which feature blurred colors and otherwise askew images.