Alois Senefelder and the invention of lithography in an international context
The annual AEPM conference was held at our Nederlands Steendrukmuseum (Dutch museum of lithography) in Valkenswaard (Netherlands) from 3-5 November 2016. It was being jointly organised with the IADM (Internationaler Arbeitskreis für Druck- und Mediengeschichte).
Few people know what it is, and even fewer know how it works. Yet we are permanently surrounded by documents and objects printed by this long-established process. Introduced in the early years of the 19th century, lithography mutated in the early 20th century to become offset lithography which went on to replace letterpress as the principal industrial printing process.
Despite its now venerable age and its current position as the predominant printing process, lithography occupies a relatively minor position in the literature of printing history as well as in most printing museums. Why so? Should it be more present in printing museums? And if so, what are the perspectives for research on the history of lithography and for the exhibition and mediation of the machines and products of lithography and the major role which this technique has played in the development of graphic communications since the beginning of the 19th century?
It is hoped that the conference will also provide an opportunity to bring together museums, people and ideas with a view to discussing the possibility of producing a travelling exhibition about lithography in 2018, on the anniversary of the publication of Aloys Senefelder’s manual of lithography.