|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2009)|
Printmaking societies (also known as printmaking clubs) were prolific in 19th century United States.
Their origin, however, began in Europe in the 18th century. Their impetus was primarily exhibition, technical exchange, and the promotion of etching and printmaking as a fine art, as opposed to a method of reproducing images. The invention of photography meant that reproduction of art works could be achieved photographically instead of through the graphic arts of etching, engraving, and lithography. Thus these methods of printmaking were freed from their reproducing role to develop as pure fine arts. In addition to the rise of printmaking societies/clubs, individual printmaking artists also sought to distinguish their work as a fine art, as opposed to a craft. Generally these artists from the 19th century were referred to as painter-etchers.