Time machine: UND art professor rekindles love for old time lithography with purchase and restoration of antique press

By Kallie Van De Venter, University & Public Affairs student writer

UND Professor of Art Kim Fink has a love for print making, especially with his “new” antique Brisset Star Wheel lithography press. He has dreamed of owning a lithography press since his art school days.

While completing his second year of graduate school in Rome, Italy, Fink worked extensively on and ultimately fell in love with an Italian Star Wheel Press. Upon graduation and moving back to his home state of California, over time, his love of antique lithography presses became a distant memory.

In the summer of 2012, after attending a workshop at the Arti Visive School of the Arts in Florence, Italy, he again was able to print on an antique star wheel press used at the Florentine art school. This experience rekindled his love for antique presses.

Not long after returning home, Fink saw an ad run by StoneMetal Press, located in San Antonio, Texas, selling a French Brisset Star Wheel Lithography Press. After some contact and negotiating with StoneMetal director Glenn Faulk, Fink purchased the press and moved it to Grand Forks last June.

Fink believes his press was constructed sometime between 1825 and 1840. He recently restored his press a month ago. The restoration included taking the press apart to sand it, oil it and rebuild some parts . Fink used old barn wood to replace some pieces that were in disrepair.

“It is a real joy to work with,” he said.

Fink is currently trying to find more information about the man who created this machine. He was told his antique French press was smuggled out of Paris in WWII and brought to the United States, landing in the art department of the University of Texas in Houston, where it was sold at auction, to make space for new equipment. It resided at StoneMetal Press until Fink purchased it.

“There are around a half dozen presses in the U.S.” Fink said, “most are Italian, I believe there is one other French lithography press other than mine here.” Fink says he “loves the look of it, it has a feel to it that the new ones don’t.”

Fink’s intermediate and advanced art students will be able to print on his press next semester, giving them a feel for the antique wooden presses as compared to the industrial steel presses that the students are more use to.

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