A linoleum cut or "linocut" is a relief print carved into linoleum rather than wood. Linoleum is composed of burlap coated with linoxyn; polymerized oil mixed with ground cork and pigments. The best grade, battleship linoleum, is usually brown or gray.
During the 1700's and 1800's Japanese artists produced outstanding woodcuts that greatly influenced such European artists as Degas, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Gogh. In the 1900's expressionist artists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner of Germany and Edvard Munch of Norway created many fine woodcuts.
To create a woodcut, the artist draws a design on a piece of wood sawed lengthwise across the grain. Pine is the wood most commonly used, although fruitwoods such as pear or cherry may also be used. After smoothing the surface, the wood may be hardened by treating it with shellac. This makes it more durable under the pressure of a press and also makes it easier to carve strong, bold images.
In the 19th and early 20th century many people saw lithography only as a less expensive means to own a work of art by a well-known painter. However many European artists began experimenting with lithography soon after its invention in 1798. Some of these early masters included Eugene Delacroix, Pierre Bonnard, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Edvard Munch.