Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Chromolithographs of Fidelia Bridges

Fidelia Bridges (1834-1923) was one of the few commercially successful female artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She was a student of William Trost Richards, who encouraged her to paint detailed views of nature. 

Her sensibilities resonated with the newly emerging technology of color printing, called chromolithography, published in the form of album cards and greeting cards by Louis Prang. 

Album cards were treasured color images intended to be glued into a scrap book.

Bridges was influenced by Pre-Raphaelite art and Japanese prints. Often the scenes included a foreground bush or tree with a couple of birds, with a landscape view visible beyond.

These prints were immensely popular, and made her famous and well compensated, though some people in the day complained of the prints being overly saturated with color.

There's a chapter on chromolithography and the art of the late 19th century in the book The Artist's Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement
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Eugene Arenhaus said...

Chromolithography is probably the most artistic method of color printing invented to date. The color effects possible with it are wonderful to see in person, it supports offset color mixing, color layering effects, and spot color - and the subtle texture of the stone is more pleasing than offset printing rasters.

Tom Hart said...

What I found most interesting about the post was that people of the day found these prints to be overly saturated with color. However, maybe that relates to Eugene's comment about chromolithography being particularly impactful in person, and maybe the saturation just doesn't come across as strongly here. Then again, maybe the difference in perception (if there is one) is evidence of how accustomed we are to saturated color these days.