Photopolymer Photogravure

Photogravure is an exquisite intaglio printmaking technique in which a thickened oil-based pigment ink is hand rubbed into and then transferred from recessed indentations in the surface of a printing plate to dampened paper using great force exerted by an etching press. The intaglio process dates back to the 1430s. Photogravure was invented by William Henry Fox Talbot in the 1840s.

From the 1980s, Cone Editions Press exclusively used copper plates to make photogravure prints. In the late 2010s, Cone Editions Press developed a direct-to-plate technique for producing steel-backed photopolymer photogravure plates. Not only is the fidelity higher than can be achieved with traditional copper methods, the costs are significantly less, and the time required to produce a photogravure plate just a fraction. Best of all, the unique Cone Editions method produces a photogravure print that matches a calibrated display making it perfect for digital photography or scans made from negatives and transparencies.

A high resolution positive image is printed directly onto a UV sensitive Green Mountain photopolymer plate using a modified EPSON printer with four gradated shades of UV absorbing inks formulated by Cone Editions Press. The printing of these inks is controlled by a software system also invented at Cone Editions Press. This proprietary technique results in the highest fidelity photogravure available.

The direct to plate printed positive is exposed to a very high amount of UV irradiance for a very short amount of time. The UV system is also developed at Cone Editions Press. The absence of film, glass or the need for vacuum results in the smallest possible grains size. The majority of these are microscopic in size, in varying dimensions, and in pseudo-random positioning to assimilate the finest possible aquatint. After UV exposure the unhardened portions of the plate are washed out with plain water. After processing the plate is further hardened to withstand dozens if not hundreds of impressions should the client wish.

The fidelity of a Cone Editions Press can rival platinum printing. The process being calibrated to a display easily allows a photographer or artist to work remotely and have their expectations met. Working directly with the printmakers at Cone Editions Press results in a fluid process in which an hour from computer display to the printing press is all that is necessary to begin printmaking. 

The process is perfect for monochromatic photography as well as multiple color abstraction or four color process printing or whatever an artist can imagine.

Customers who come to Cone Editions to work in photogravure pay special rates by the day or week, and will notice that it takes only a scant hour from computer display to the plate being ready for proofing on the press. For our online customers we charge separately for making a gravure plate, for a proofing session, and for printing the gravures in an edition. We can also offer binding if you are interested in special portfolios or projects. You can check out one of our basic bindings here: https://youtu.be/N_eubAkjvs4

We can also make our unique photogravure plates for you to print on your own etching press.

Ready to Print Gravure Plates

You supply the image and we produce the plate either to send to you for printing in your studio, or we can print it in ours!

If you would like us to make gravure plates for you to print on your own etching press, we charge more for this service than if we are making the plate for us to print your work on our etching presses with the techniques and ink we use for printing.

Within the maximum plate area you can choose to have the plate trimmed to the image or include a plate margin (unprinted border around the image). The image will cause an impression to be impressed into the paper. The plate margin allows for there to be a border of un-inked paper around the image surrounded by an impression into the paper.


Plate Size Price Per Plate
4"x5" Minimum of 2 Plates
$82.50ea
5"x7" Minimum of 2 Plates
$87.50ea
8"x10"
$175ea
11"x14"
$250ea
11"x17"
$260ea
13"x19"
$300ea
16"x20"
$350ea
20"x24"
$500ea
20"x30"
$600ea
30"x40"
$1000ea

Photo Gravure Prints (and Proofs) Per Image

This price table is for remote edition printing. If you are doing print-days in-house you just pay the day-rate and material fees which is much more cost effective for small size prints!


Print Size Deposit (Includes one inked BAT Proof Print) Edition of 10 (Total Cost including Deposit) Each Additional Print past 10

4"x5"
$832
$3333
$250
5"x7"
$899
$3450
$255
8"x10"
$966 $3566
$260
11"x14"
$1033 $3683
$265
11"x17"
$1100 $3800
$270
13"x19"
$1166 $3916
$275
16"x20"
$1233
$4033
$280
20"x24"
$1300 $4150
$285
20"x30"
$1367 $4267
$290
30"x40"  
$1500 $6500
$500

Limited Edition Gravure Books

https://www.cone-editions.com/book

We love books. They can be so expensive to have produced. So what we offer are printed leaves that you can complete by binding (or have us produce the binding for you.) 

The leaves are available as Piezography, Pt/Pd, or Photogravure. We will send you a template for you to design and upload to us. We’ll print the work and ship it back to you. The larger your edition (quantity of books), the lower the cost per leaf will be. Please contact us with your requirements and we will configure your costs and templates.