If you’ve already visited The Met Store, you’re probably aware that it’s our mission to find ways for our shoppers to take home a piece of the Museum or continue to learn more about the art and artists showcased within the depth and breadth of The Met collection.
Today we’re giving you a behind the scenes look into our Mezzanine Gallery Store. Arguably the Museum’s most unique retail venue, this store allows shoppers to take home works of art created by artists featured in the Museum’s permanent collection, in the form of limited-edition prints, vintage posters, studio prints, and digital reproductions. The Mezzanine Gallery Store also specializes in the selling of new and semi-antique rugs and textiles from around the globe. Whether prints or rugs, these selections are designed to offer works of art at reasonable prices, encouraging art novices and seasoned collectors alike to celebrate The Met at home. Read below to learn about our limited-edition prints program, and continue to visit the blog for more highlights of the Mezzanine Gallery Store’s programs.
The Mezzanine Gallery Store has published more than 80 prints since 1979, representing over 50 contemporary artists, from Ellsworth Kelly to Alex Katz, David Hockney, Robert Indiana, and more. These prints reflect the varied artistic tendencies present in the Museum’s collection.
Each of the prints published by the Mezzanine Gallery Store is the product of a collaboration between the artist and the Museum, resulting in a limited number of prints (also known as an edition) produced exclusively for sale by The Met Store.
Limited-edition prints are priced based on the individual market value, condition, and edition in order to remain competitive. Proceeds from the sale of limited-edition prints support The Metropolitan Museum of Art and its programs.
These prints can take various forms:
Etchings, which are the result of the artist scratching an image on to a metal plate covered in wax using a specialized needle. Once the design is complete, the plate is submerged in acid, which eats away at the exposed metal leaving behind a permanent imprint of the design. The finalized plate is then cleaned, inked, and squeezed through an etching press, which imparts the design onto paper to create an edition. Etchings are typically characterized by a plate mark, a result of the indentation created in the printing process.
Lithographs, in which an artist draws onto a stone plate using a grease-based medium (usually ink or crayon). The stone is then treated with a chemical solution, which is designed to attract printing ink to the areas that were greased, while the untreated areas repel ink. Ink is then applied to the stone using a roller, after which the stone is placed in a lithographic press and the image is printed. Finished lithographs typically require multiple stones to print, in order to create an image with layered tones.
Screenprints, in which an image is cut into a sheet of paper of plastic film to create a stencil. The stencil is then placed in a frame layered with fine mesh in order to create a screen through which ink is pushed onto the page. This technique allows only the cut-out portions of the stencil to receive color. As with lithographs, multiple different stencils are typically required to create one final image.
Woodcuts, one of the oldest printmaking processes. In this technique, an image is sketched onto the surface of a block of wood before being carved using chisels or other implements. The carved block is then coated in ink and a sheet of paper is placed on top and pressed, leaving an impression of the raised areas of the wood behind.