Dutch Museum of Lithography celebrates twenty years

On the 21 September the Dutch Museum of Lithography (Nederlands Steendrukmuseum) celebrates the twentieth anniversary of its foundation.

The museum was founded by Peter-Louis Vrijdag, currently still co-owner of Vrijdag Premium Printing in Eindhoven. This firm was established by his grandfather Louis in 1905. Like Alois Senefelder, Louis Vrijdag started his business by printing music sheets on stone. Soon afterwards he began printing cigar labels, along with labels for luxury products such as perfume, wines, champagne, soap and chocolate. At that time the area around Eindhoven had numerous cigar factories.

About 50 years ago his grandson became so impressed by the beauty of this printed matter and by the skills of the lithographers and printers, who sometimes used more than 10 colours for a label or poster, that he started collecting anything that was printed on stone. 95% of this material was commercial and 5% art. The collection now includes not only samples of commercial printing but also books, presses and other equipment necessary for printing quality work. Visitors can consult books from the antiquarian to the contemporary in the museum’s library. Amongst them is the standard work of 1818 by Alois Senefelder, the inventor of lithography. Also of course, Drawing on Stone by Charles Hulmandell.

Many exhibitions about lithography have been held over these two decades. Last year there was a very successful show about Alphonse Mucha who made very charming posters in Art Nouveau style. The current exhibition shows Dutch Art Nouveau posters from 1890 up till 1915. In December the museum will undergo renovation. After that is completed in January 2022, an significant exhibition about the Belgian artist Henri Privat-Livemont will be held.

Many workshops are held for amateurs and famous artists are invited to draw prints on stone: these included a large portrait of Lucian Freud by Nico Vrielink, made a few years ago.

There can be no better introduction to the Dutch Museum than the kind comment left in our guest book by Professor Michael Twyman, who wrote: ‘This the finest display of lithography I have ever seen anywhere.’ Professor Twyman spent time at the museum, and spoke to former lithographers, during the research for his 2013 book A History of Chromolithography. This beautiful and unequalled book is available to buy from the museum and from the Printing Historical Society.

For more information about the museum visit our website: www.steendrukmuseum.nl

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