Roy Lichtenstein’s Litho/Litho of 1970 is essentially an illustrated step by step manual mapping the practicalities behind printing. The artist in this print mirrors the layout of science posters and technical textbook drawings. Litho/Litho is a humorous and educational tribute to the innovative nature of printmaking.
Litho/Litho demonstrates the constantly evolving transfer process behind multiples. Lithography is the main technique Lichtenstein honours here. On the left, he outlines the various base materials utilised in printing, like aluminium, zinc, and stone. The image is created with the help of a grease-based lithographic crayon.
The illustrated surface is then treated with a chemical solution that fixes the composition and ensures that certain areas attract ink while others repel it. Ink is later applied with a roller, adhering only to the receptive areas. Instead of portraying the final printing phase, Lichtenstein illustrates what the different layers look like during the soaking stage.
Lithography has been of crucial importance for Lichtenstein’s artistic career. It allowed for a renaissance of printmaking, inspiring contemporary artists to integrate varied technical skills in their oeuvre. Lithographic printing aided members of the Pop generation especially, supporting them in their quest to revolutionise the post-war art scene.