Mar 14, 2022
Mar 14, 2022

Papillon Rouge

Papillon Rouge


Yozo Hamaguchi

(Japanese, 1909–2000)

Cancelled copper plate

Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland 1973.193



In mezzotint, a metal plate is systematically worked over with a spiked tool (called a "rocker") until it is thoroughly roughened. If inked at this stage, it will print nearly solid black. The image is created when the engraver smooths out graduated highlights with a scraper or burnishing tool; the more burnished an area is, the less ink it will hold, and thus when the plate is printed the design will emerge from basic blackness.
To create a color mezzotint, separate plates are prepared for each color, which are printed successively (so the colors are superimposed on one sheet). This method requires extreme precision: the plates must be exactly aligned so the colors do not appear out of register. The artist must give careful forethought to which elements of the composition should be drawn on each plate and in what order the plates should be printed to produce a cohesive final image. Here the individual plates are displayed next to a sheet where they have been printed separately to show how the artist conceived the design for each color.

See also
PR - Apparatus
Type of artwork: 

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.