The litho, (short for lithograph), is one of the many different ways to produce reproductions or copies of works of art. This genre of print making has been around for a very long time. Although, it is true that in the past, it was a very painstaking and time consuming thing to do. Creating a copy from this type of medium took a lot of skill and patience.
Today, it is still the preferred method by many art collectors. While making lithographs is still a very complex process, the machinery used to create it has come a long way since the days of stenciling or etching imagines onto stone. Today’s litho is signed and dated. Many are often numbered, which makes them much more valuable than any other types of reproductions, such as giclees or silk screen copies.
This type of reproduction has a rather interesting past. Artists, like Picasso, thought that it was such a superior way to reproduce works of art that they began to create their pieces directly onto the stone. This meant that they, in essence, used the method of reproduction as a method of creation. These litho prints are extremely valuable today, even though the original intention of this process was to create mere advertisements. They evolved to become advertisements for the artist and their work.
As time went on, some artists were extremely pleased that their works would be copied. Others resisted greatly. This is why some litho prints are rather easy to obtain and others remain extremely rare. Some of those became even more valuable because of their rarity.
This type of reproduction is preferred. Unfortunately, they are only as good as the printing company that is reproducing them. In that regard, not a lot has changed since the days of etching on stone.