Screen Printing - June/July 2018 - 24
Salvador Dali, "The Alchemy of Philosophers: The King and the Queen,"
1973 original print
Considered one of Dali's greatest masterpieces, this oversized book featured 10 prints that combined gravure, lithography, and screen printing.
Caza devised techniques for printing the unusual substrate: lambskin.
Alain Margotton, 2003 original print
Difficult because the art was both very soft and highly contrasted, this
print won the first "Best in Show" at SGIA's Golden Image competition.
At that time, the pop artists, even if known in New York, were
almost unknown in Europe. Poldi Domberger, his son Michael,
and I - although not the only art screen printers in Europe -
saw a particularly high potential in the art print market.
Between 1960 and 1973 (the first crisis), there was a wave
of galleries selling lithographs, serigraphs, engravings, and art
posters. The idea Michael and I developed was to provide the
growing middle classes of France and Germany with affordable
images to decorate their apartments, offices, and factories. With
pictorial works and sculptures often too expensive, there was
a niche market for both the "upscale" original print and more
modest art poster. Additionally, we both wanted to fight the
domination of the market by lithography and engraving.
Screen printing is often considered a minor art and believed
to produce only "flat tones" or, as in the US, needing dozens of
colors to bring a certain subtlety to the modulations of tones.
This was something I totally rejected, and that is why I invented
the "halftone without dots" in 1965 - allowing me to completely
modulate the colors in all their possible variations, at competitive prices, without using the mechanical dots of traditional halftone that I reserved for posters and pure "reproduction" work.
Many artists around the world loved my technique, including,
later, "hyperrealists" who were delighted to use it.
An amusing paradox also arrived at this time and throughout the '70s, as American, French, and German artists in
"optical art" (for example, geometric abstraction, kinetic,
etc.) needed beautiful flat tones! Michael Domberger, Wil-
fredo Arcay [the Cuban-born artist and printmaker], and I
benefited a lot from this development.
This is a deeply personal book. At one point, you say:
"I lost quite a personal part of my soul as an artist/
collaborator." It seems to get to the root of your theme
that you were a "chameleon" in your art career.
I did not realize, at the beginning, that by being a substitute
for artists, to be - with their active complicity, of course -
their "chameleon," that I would lose my personal style. I have
worked with so many different artists practicing all the current
art forms from naïve to lyrical abstraction and hyperrealism,
often in the same week or the same day. It was necessary to
adapt myself to everything, and to use my technique and my art
to recreate the ideas, even the "tics," of different artists.
Fine-art printing is often considered a craft, yet it
seems that some of your most important technological
advancements, such as your continuous-tone technique,
emerged from your art business. Did innovation from
your advertising business drive the creativity of your art
collaborations, and vice versa?
I never wanted to create a separation between art and industrial
screen printing techniques that I developed, perfected, and even
invented. It was the same for the members of my team. Whether
in technical or advertising printing or in art, they participated in
all of the work with the artists and it was a "win-win." The artists