The largest and most distinguished body of monotypes made by an American artist during the 1890s was created by Maurice Prendergast. He was the first to explore the possibilities of the medium as a method for making color prints. During the early twentieth century, the color monotype gradually became more common, but most artists continued to approach it as a monochrome medium.

With the American modernists and their contemporaries, the monotype moved away from the romantic ideals of variable inking, inspired by the etching revival, and toward a more independent identity for the medium. The increasing importance of color and the practice of transferring the image without a press strengthened the perception of the monotype as a printed drawing rather than a uniquely wiped print. Artists began to execute more ambitious compositions, but no artist had yet adopted the monotype as his or her primary medium.

-- Joann Moser


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