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I have read the replies concerning the nature of cliche-verre.  This
technique is as varied as the artist who uses it.  The best source that I
know of is a comprehensive catalog, Cliche-verre: hand drawn,
light-printed, a survey of the medium from 1939 to the present.  It was
published in an edition of 2,000 by the Detroit Institute of Arts in
1980. The listed authors are Elizabeth Glassman and Marilyn F. Symmes.

In her introduction, Ellen Sharp briefly reviews the history of the
medium (literally, glass negative) which is defined as "hand drawn, light
printed".  Thus, a cliche verre is an image that has been applied by hand
to some surface through which light can be transmitted (glass, photo
film, acetate, wax paper, etc.) and then printed on some light sensitive
surface.  Beyond this, there can be infinite variations.  Some do use
paint and then draw in it making a contact print of the final plate.
Others have put syrup on glass that is then held above a sensitized
surface at a distance of several inches to produce a more blurred image
(Henry Holmes Smith), have put smoke on glass and used this as a basis
for a negative that is then placed in an enlarger and printed (Frederick

The book contains a glossary but it does not describe what is meant by an
intaglio cliche-verre.  It is likely a term coined by the specific artist
who uses the method and could represent any number of things.  For
example, an image could be printed on photo paper and then, while the
paper is wet, run through a press with raised elements incised in it
which is then
strategically placed under the print to produce an intaglio effect.

While it is dated, the book does contain a large number of illustrations
and has an extensive bibliography for those wishing to learn more.

Good luck--Ray Starr

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