The Alcorn Studio & Gallery



The Art Of The Relief-Block Print

Children's Books Council Feature; April, 2003


A wide range of images exemplifying Stephen Alcorn’s penchant for translating complex themes into visual signs, patterns, and rhythms that can effectively be cut and/or engraved.

Price range: c. $100 - $300, depending on dimensions of print.

Sample of technique:

Howling at the Moon
(also featured in the Folklore category)


In these prints two or more colors are printed in the traditional manner of relief-block printmaking, which consists of printing dark tints over light tints.

Price range: $150 - $400, depending on dimensions of print, and on number of colors employed.

Sample of technique:

Sabina Reading
(also featured in the Self Portraits/Family category)


The delicate quality of the dark lines and the transparent quality of the overall surface of these prints is achieved by reversing the traditional cutting and printing technique and thereby printing the principal block in a semi-opaque white over a previously printed dark background. By cutting away areas of the dark background the white of the paper is permitted to function as highlight

Price range: $200-500, depending on dimensions of print,s and on number of colors employed.

Sample of technique:

The Finish Line
(also featured in the Folklore category)


Through the manipulation of color with palette knives and rolling techniques, gentle, painterly gradations of tone, akin to those of a rainbow, are achieved.

Price range: $150-500, depending on dimensions of print, and on number of colors employed.

Sample of technique:

The Wishing Well
(also featured in the Folklore category)


A reduction print is made with the use of a single block. Through a series of progressive cuttings, inkings, and printings, the image slowly emerges while, paradoxically, the actual block is destroyed. A reduction print can therefore never be reprinted. All reduction prints are finite and are limited to 12 -18 prints per edition.

Price range: $250 - $1000, depending on dimensions of print, as well as on the size of the edition.

Sample of technique:

Isabella Bird, Rockie Mountain Explorer
(also featured in the Miscellaneous Portraits category)

Words of Praise

"Not since the Belgian master Frans Masereel (1889 - 1972) has an artist reached such elevated heights in the art of printmaking"
-Daniele Baroni, Critic and Art Historian
From the cover story entitled The Art of Stephen Alcorn
Linea Grafica, Number 296; Pg. 10-19; Milano, Italy; 1995

"Stephen Alcorn relishes the challenges inherent in the linocut print, pushing them and exploiting them to achieve effects that are truly ground breaking and uniquely his. Indeed, his investigation of the linocut medium has been a kind of odyssey in which each discovery has led to a new vision, and the territory to be explored is apparently boundless"
-Carol Stevens, Executive Editor, Print Magazine
Excerpt from the cover story entitled
Choice Cuts: Stephen Alcorn’s favored technique is the linocut . . .
January-February, 1994; pg. 32-41

"Whether he's interpreting the face of a famous author like Solzhenitsyn, illustrating with impeccable skill and sharp irony a scene from Malraux's Man's Hope, or taking on an entire novel, such as Paul LaFarge's The Artist of the Missing, there's no question that Stephen Alcorn is one of our most technically sophisticated and inspired of artists. The sheer craftsmanship is breathtaking, revealing a kind of artistry that hasn't existed for half a century, nearly obsessed with clean lines, the interplay of light and dark, the myriad possibilities offered by a centimeter of space, a delight in structure, design and texture. But more than the technique is the imagination and visual acuity Alcorn brings to his subjects: playing with perspectives, jostling with angles, combining foreshortened, exterior scenes with larger, emotional interiors, setting our expectations on head so we look, and look again, and marvel. This is multi-dimensional work in the true sense of the term: layered, split-imaged, resonating with multiple--sometimes complementary, sometimes contradictory--meanings, brilliantly executed, unfailingly interesting. Throughout his oeuvre Alcorn has lifted "the veil of familiarity," to use the phrase popularized by Wordsworth and Coleridge when stating the mission of the romantic poets. We see the world anew through his eyes, and remain, always, the richer for it."
-John A. Glusman Vice President & Executive Editor, Farrar, Straus & Giroux