What is Serigraph?

Definition of Serigraph

n : a print made using a stencil process in which an image or design is superimposed on a very fine mesh screen and printing ink is squeegeed onto the printing surface through the area of the screen that is not covered by the stencil

n : A print made by the silk-screen process.

A Serigraph is a Fine Art Print which has been produced using the screen printing method thus more precisely making it a Fine Art Screen Print.

The word ‘Serigraph' literally means to draw through silk, In Latin ‘seri' means silk and in Greek ‘graphos' means to draw. The name ‘Serigraph' was coined by Carl Zigrosser, an eminent curator of prints of the Philadelphia Museum of Fine Arts, to distinguish Fine Art Screen Prints from other commercial and industrial Screen Prints.

Broadly speaking there are four categories of printing, they are: Relief, Intaglio, Planographic and Stencil Printing. ‘Serigraphs' or Fine Art Screen Prints are categorized under and are examples of Stencil Printing.

Whenever an artist printmaker produces a stencil print it is an original print made using the screen printing method and these are classified as ‘Serigraphs'.

‘Serigraphs' like other Fine Art Prints are hand printed or hand pulled and as a result of this may vary from each other slightly, This variation is accepted positively as it makes each ‘Serigraph' unique and original in itself.

There would be certain requirements for the screen prints to qualify as original Fine Art Screen Prints or ‘Serigraphs', they would be:

  • The artist alone has conceptualized and created the master image on which the print is based.
  • The print is made either by the artist or as per his directions and under his supervision.
  • The finished print is approved by the artist.

The artist-printmaker usually prints a pre-determined and fixed number of multiples of the screen prints, thus making them into an ‘Edition' of the ‘Serigraphs'. These Editions may be ‘Open' or ‘Limited' which as their names suggest mean that in ‘Open' editions the artist-printmaker may ‘Restrike' or print more of the same prints later but if printed as a ‘Limited Edition', then it acts as a guarantee on the part of the artist-printmaker and publisher that the same images will never be printed again.

- Lavesh Jagasia