All the prints in this gallery are zinc plate lithographs, created through a process called zincography. They are among the first prints DeArmond created, from around 1960 to 1961. They all had regular editions of 100 prints; it’s not known if any proofs were created, but it is likely that some were produced.
…Zincography is (a) printmaking technique… closely related to lithography, but in place of the cumbersome, costly lithographic stone, printmakers work on a zinc plate.
The use of tusche, a lithographic wash, often produced a distinct, grainy texture as a result of the oxidation of the zinc plate in the presence of water. This effect, known as peau de crapaud (toad skin), distinguishes a zincograph from the more common lithograph. —Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Zinc plates could be obtained for less expense than fine lithographic limestone, and could be acquired at very large scale. Zinc was coated with a solution containing gallic acid and phosphoric acid that caused hygroscopic salts to form on the plate’s surface. A printer would then cover the zinc plate with a coating of asphalt varnish, expose it under a drawing and develop it. The zinc affected by the lines of the drawing proof would be coated with hygroscopic salts. Bathing the plate in acetic acid resulted in the dissolution of the salts, the asphalt varnish protecting the remaining surfaces of the plate. Then the printer would coat the plate with a colored lacquer varnish called fuchsine, dried, dipped in benzene. This would dissolve the varnishes, leaving only the fuchsine varnish in the areas associated with the drawn lines, and hygroscopic salts elsewhere. The printer then wet the plate, the water localizing on the salts. As in lithography, ink applied to the plate was repelled by the hygroscopic areas, and attracted to the fuchsine areas. Sometimes zincographic printers created printing proofs on specially coated papers. —Zincography, courtesy of Wikipedia
Many of the lithographs depicting Alaska Natives are part of DeArmond’s “Chief Hat” series. There may be others not included here, and some of the images pictured may not be part of the series. Little else is currently known. Have any information you can share? Please email details to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!