THE AQUATINT BOX IN THE GODOWN SPEAKS OF AQUATINTING TECHNIQUE, OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI – FOOLISH EXPERTS DO NOT EVEN KNOW DIFFERENCE.
Dr William K Enhrenfeld was a good friend of mine. He had the notion of holding an exhibition of Engraving prints of M.A. Rahman Chughtai, in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. He hired a scholar from a University there, a lady who was to come here to Lahore, and write the catalogue on the ETCHINGS AND AQUATINTS OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI. Everything was in place, and I endorsed his printing of the catalogue, without any royalties. And then unfortunately, he had a stroke, and the doctors gave him a short time to live. His wife Trudy Ehrenfeld nursed him till the last and his three daughters were with him. But that opportunity was gone. A tragedy in all ways, for the Ehrenfeld promise was that he would take Chughtai to heights never experienced before by us.
We discussed the nomenclature of Etchings and Aquatints, and he consulted the top scholars in the field. And he was amused when he said it seems I have to guide people all the time. An etching is a difficult project, but an aquatint is an even more difficult things to manage on own. I need not talk about etchings here, but once the etching is made, the plate is put through a hand held resin blast in an aquatint box. I introduce our aquatint box for people to see. It is not as easy as it looks, for you have to control the density of the resin, its size as well as its whirling velocity. This resin blast makes the entire plate surface open to printing and the dark ink immediately tells you that. Check the etching plate of Black Pigeons and the Aquatinted plate. One understands things.
Aquatint is an intaglioprintmaking technique, a variant of etching that produces areas of tone rather than lines. For this reason, it has mostly been used in conjunction with etching, to give both lines and shaded tone. The wear and tear of aquatinted plates is much more than etching plates. That is why not used much. Only the extraordinary craftsmanship of M.A. Rahman Chughtai could produce magic here as attested by some of his most famous aquatints. We attach some of them.