500 Gallery
Live Auction

The Fine Art Showcase: Winter Selection

Wed, Nov 29, 2023 05:30PM EST
Lot 161

J. McFall: Cap Lily

Estimate: $200 - $300

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J. McFall (American, 20th Century): Cap Lily. Monotype on heavy rag paper, signed and numbered (1/1) in pencil. Inventory number in pencil on the edge. Unframed.

The monotype is actually a very simple medium that only requires applying pigments or ink to the smooth substrate plate. The plate for a monotype is a blank smooth surface that has no permanent markings or incisions.
Picture a painting on a piece of smooth acrylic. This image on the smooth surface is created by applying the ink. It can be brushed, rolled, daubed or applied in any way that suits the artist. The artist may further manipulate the ink before a sheet of paper is applied on top of the image. This plate with the paper applied on top is then run through the press. What is created is a unique one-of-a-kind work on paper.
So here's the question we are frequently asked at this point in the explanation: why doesn't the artist avoid all this rigamarole involving the plate and press and just paint directly on the paper?
Simply put, our answer is that the monotype can have remarkable transparency combined with a layered quality that one is unlikely to get from a painting on paper. Also many of the monotype artists we work with have told us they enjoy the element of surprise that comes with lifting the paper off the plate after it has gone through the press. One is never quite sure what the print will look like. Sometimes they can, of course, be disappointed but, as one of our artists elegantly puts it, there can also be some "happy accidents".

30 x 22.5 inches paper; 24 x 19.5 inches plate.

Private collection, Boston.


Fair condition; the lower half of the print is stained in the margins; the paper is lightly toned.

NOTE: If documentation is not listed, the lot is sold without documents.

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