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The History of the Photogravure
Karl Klic & the Dust-Grain Photogravure

AS THE PROBLEMS OF PERMANENCE WERE SOLVED, the role of the photogravure evolved. It began to appeal to the publishing industry as an economical means of illustrating books.

In 1879, Karl Klíc, a painter living in Vienna patented an improved method for applying an aquatint grain to break up the image and allow for deeper etched shadows. In addition, Klíc invented a technique of transferring the image from a negative, to a copper plate by way of gelatin-coated carbon pigment paper. The results were superior and the Talbot-Klíc Dust-Grain gravure was born.

Keeping his process secret, Klíc sold licenses for its use to such well-known printing firms as T. & R. Annan and Sons, in Glasgow; Adolphe Braun and Company, in Parks; and the F. Bruckmann Verlag company in Munich. By 1886, however, the process had been published in full detail making it available to anyone.

"I beg to express my entire satisfaction with your gravure process... The process itself is very valuable to a fine art publisher because of the beauty of the work and the crafted manner in which the plates are executed. With many thanks to me and my son I remain, Dear Sir, yours very truly" - Thomas Annan
March 11, 1883

By the late 1880s, Klic's gravure process was often used to illustrate high-quality books with photographs—a process technically and artistically far superior to previous methods. line


Karl Klic
Karel Klíc, 1841 - 1926.