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Art Terms

Are you new to art collecting? Do you scratch your brow when reading descriptions of fine art sites? Well you are not alone. We have comprised a short list of the most unexplained terms that you may come across on this site. Read. Share and Comment below. We want to hear from you.

​Artist Proof Common practice is that 10 to 15 percent of an edition is reserved for the artist. These proofs are identical to impressions in the edition in most instances. Print Marking example; A/P "1/35" is the first print of an edition of 35 Artist Proof impressions.

​Acid Free The print contains no harmful acid or alkaline that may affect the life of the paper or quality of the image printed.

Certificate of Authenticity A document issued with limited edition prints. It includes the print publication date, size of the image, original art media, number of the prints in the edition, and a statement about the work from the artist.

Estate Signed (Certified)​

A piece produced with the approval of the estate of a deceased artist and signed with a facsimile of the artist's signature.

​Etching An image created by the artist on a metal plate by means of engraving tools and acid. This produces the sunken line which will receive the ink. As the plate is inked, the ink settles in the sunken areas. The plate is then wiped clean. The plate, in contact with damp paper, is passed through a roller press, and the paper is then forced into the sunken area to receive the ink.

​Giclee or Digital Print A fine art print that has become more precise with the advent of the revolutionary printing process, Giclee (zhee-clay) a French term meaning "spray of ink." In the Giclee process, a fine stream of ink (more than four millions droplets per second) is sprayed onto archival art paper or canvas. Each piece of paper or canvas is carefully hand mounted onto a drum which rotates during printing. Exact calculation of hue, value and density direct the ink from four nozzles. This produces a combination of 512 chromatic changes (with over three million colors possible) of highly saturated, non-toxic water-based ink. Since no screens are used in Giclee printing, the prints have a higher resolution than lithographs, and the dynamic color range is greater than serigraphs.

​Hors de Commerce...H/C Hors de Commerce (Not for trade) traditionally were the graphics pulled with the regular edition but marked by the artist for business use only. These graphics were used for entering shows, exhibits, samples, etc. Today, however, since people began to acquire and collect them, these graphics now generally find their way to the market place through regular channels and are sold. Example H/C 1/10

​Lenticular Lenticular printing is a technology in which a lenticular lens is used to produce images with an illusion of depth or the ability to change or move as the image is viewed from different angles. Examples of lenticular printing include prizes given in Cracker Jack snack boxes that showed flip and animation effects such as winking eyes, and modern airport advertising graphics that change their message depending on the viewing angle. This technology was created in the 1940s but has evolved in recent years to show more motion and increased depth. Originally used mostly in novelty items, lenticular prints are now being used as a marketing tool to show products in motion.

​Limited Edition Prints...L/E A fixed number of identical prints of an image, signed by the artist, sequentially numbered, and showing both the print's number and the total edition size. Each print is referred to as a "limited edition print."

​Lithograph A print produced by a printing process in which the image to be printed is rendered on a flat sheet or metal plate or stone and treated to retain ink while the non-image areas are treated to repel ink.

​Medium Medium is the material or technical means of artistic expression. Examples include oils, watercolors, acrylics, ink, pencil and charcoal. Technical examples include lithography, serigraphy and giclee. Mixed media is the use of two or more materials and/or technical means.

Mixed Media In visual art, this refers to as art work in the making of which more than one medium has been employed. For example, a work on paper or canvas that combines paint, ink and collage could properly called mixed media.

Offset print

A mechanical process used to photographicly reproduce an image. The newest printing method in the industry is computerized or electronic printing. This process uses a computer, typesetting and page-design software and optical scanners to aid in reproduction. The majority of reproductions are created using this process.

​Open Edition ...OE The quantity of prints reproduced is not limited. As long as the image is in demand, it will be reprinted.


An original work of art is the source from which all copies, reproductions, or translations are made. It may also be used to describe the landmark work of an artist.

​Printers Proof...P/P Common practice by many printers is that a small number of impressions are made for their review. These proofs are marketed and are identical impressions to the edition in most instances. Print Marking example; P/P "1/20" is the first print of an edition of 20 Printers Proof impressions.

​Rag Paper One hundred percent rag paper are constructed of cotton fibers and is traditionally considered museum quality. Watercolor paper and most printmaking papers are examples of achival rag paper.

​Remarque...rem Pronounced "re-mark"," Remarque is a current practice by some artist is the addition of a small personalized drawing near his penciled signature in the margin of the graphic. The simple sketch or drawing is usually rendered in pencil but can be rendered in color. A print containing one of these hand embellishments or drawings is called a Remarque. Print marking example; RE "1/25" is the first print of an edition of 25 Remarques. By art market standards, Remarques usually rank higher in value to S/N's, A/P's, and P/P's of an edition.(re-mark)

​Serigraph A print made by the silk-screen process involving the use of stencils. Paint is applied to a fabric screen, penetrating areas not blocked by a stencil. Several stencils are used to produce a multicolored print. As a commercial medium, silk-screen printing has been used by such modern artists as William Tolliver.

Signed and Numbered

Prints that are authenticated with the artists signature, the total number of impressions in the edition, and the order in which impression is signed. Numbering example; L/E "5/350, indicates the fifth print of a limited edition of 350 impressions.

​Sold Out When a limited edition is no longer available by its initial releasing companies, it is termed Sold Out. When an print is sold out, it usually will begin to appreciate in value depending upon its resale or trade in the secondary market. In the art market, a red dot on a piece symbolizes that it has been sold.

​UV Mapping The flattened area textured. UV mapping is the 3D modeling process of making a 2D image representation of a 3D model.

​Woodcut or Wood Engraving A relief technique in which a design is cut with knives, gouges, or chisels into planks of wood parallel to the wood grain. Wood Engraving is a relief technique in which a design is cut with burins, gouges, or chisels into the end grain of a hard wood block.

#cover #editorial

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