What is Chine Collé?

Chine Collé is part of a printing process used in conjunction with lithography or etching and involves the use of thin tissue papers (Moma, 2021). There are at least three layers at play with the first thicker support paper below, followed by the thinner tissue paper and then finally the printed image on top. Often artists may also utilise metallic papers such as gold or silver leaf to compliment their work. Thin layers of adhesive are also used in order to help stick the tissue paper to the support paper. The definition of the process is as follows: Chine is the French word for China as quite often the tissue papers used in this process were imported from China, and Collé is the French word for glued (Moma, 2021).

Above are some examples of the Chine Collé process, to the left “Fanny” (Mme. D.G.) 1914, by Henri Matisse, and to the right, “Plate 2 of 11, from the illustrated book, He Disappeared into Complete Silence, second edition” 1990, by Louise Bourgeois.

Chine Collé allows artists to add colour and texture to their prints by using a range of coloured and textured tissue papers. In this process it is important to consider how all of the elements work in harmony together and artist may often have to work in trial and error in choosing the correct materials and they may face challenges such as paper weight, adhesion, and color fastness (Didier, 1990).


Moma, 2021, Chine Collé, viewed on 4/8/2021 [https://www.moma.org/collection/terms/chine-colle]

Didier, Sean T. 1990, An exploration of the chine colle process, Degree: MA, Ball State University, Indiana, viewed on 4/8/2021 [https://cardinalscholar.bsu.edu/handle/handle/183929]

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