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Invented by Alois Senefelder at the end of the XVIIIth century, lithography presented several advantages over other techniques : it was more affordable and easier to make prints than traditional engraving.

Technically its principle is based on the repellent properties of water and oil, the image being drawn with an oily ink on a flat surface which is then covered with water and gum arabic. New techniques appeared later, notably chromolithography – using different colors with several plates – and offset lithography, leading to a wide range of uses including geographical maps, newspaper and magazines printing and photo reproductions.

Most artists throughout the XIXth and XXth centuries have made lithographs.