CIHA 2016 in Beijing

34th World Congress of Art History

About History Press Release Sessions Schedule Activities Participants Venue Discussion Registration Closed


Multiple Art and Original Print: Peculiarities of a Problematic Term in the Argentine Art Scene of the 20th Century

Session 1 Words and Concepts



Original print is an ambiguous term which puts strain on the relationship between uniqueness and multiplicity. Given that the word “print” conventionally refers to the multiple artworks printed from a matrix — and not to the matrix itself —, there is no “original” from which the image is reproduced, but multiple prints obtained from a printing surface created by the artist.

Contemporary to the expansive process of photomechanical reproduction by the end of the nineteenth century, an opposite phenomenon took place: the reaffirmation of the print as a work of art and its consequent establishment in the formula original print. This was a strategy to win the symbolic validation of prints by emphasizing their qualitative difference from industrially produced images. In turn, the name “original print” could improve the value of prints in the art market, while contributing to its need to regulate these multiple artworks. Therefore, naming this multiple art as original appeared as a guarantee of artistic quality and art status.

In Argentina, the recognition of printmaking as a multiple art form was the result of a gradual process of institutional validation. In this sense, this presentation will focus on two cases particularly significant regarding the tensions between original, reproduction and multiple art: on the one hand, the existence of some proposals for promoting and validating fine art printmaking during the first decades of the twentieth century; on the other hand, a perspective on the role of the prints by Antonio Berni — probably the most renowned Argentinian artist — in this process.


Silvia Dolinko holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Buenos Aires.  She is a researcher at the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas of Argentina (CONICET) and specializes in prints in the twentieth century. She is a professor of Argentine and Latin American Art of the Twentieth Century, co-director of the Master Program on Argentine and Latin American Art History and head of the research group Núcleo de Historia del Arte y Cultura Visual at the Instituto de Altos Estudios Sociales of the National University of San Martín (IDAES/UNSAM). She also teaches Methodology of Research in Arts at the University of Buenos Aires.

She is the author of, among others, Arte plural. El grabado entre la tradición y la experimentación 1955-1973 (Buenos Aires, Edhasa, 2012). She was editor of Palabra de artista. Escritos sobre arte argentino, 1961-1981 (Fundación Espigas-Fondo Nacional de las Artes, 2010) and Travesías de la imagen. Historias de las artes visuales en la Argentina (CAIA-Eduntref, two volumes, 2011-2012). 

She was head of the research group on the Art Centers’ Archives of the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella (UTDT 2012-2013) and Project Director for Research on Fundación Espigas’ Photo Archive, 2006-2009. Presently, she leads the research group on the Ricardo Carpani’s Archive, IIPC-Tarea/UNSAM.