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Glossary of Art Terms that are often used at your Marlin Art Fundraising Art Auctions


Original - The net result of an artist’s work.  Media includes, but is not limited to, oil, acrylic and watercolor.


Etching - The artist draws his/her composition on a copper or zinc plate that has been coated with acid resistant varnish.  The lines drawn by the artist pierce the varnish coating and are attracted by the acid when the plate is immersed.  It is now inked or colored and placed with paper under a press. 


Serigraph (Silkscreen) – Ink or paint is pushed through a fine screen made of silk.  Each color represented in the serigraph is done individually from a screen made particularly for that color.  Prints containing many colors are demanding, considering that each color printed requires a separate screen.


Original Lithograph - A work of art made by drawing on fine grained porous limestone or a zinc plate with greasy material, then wetting the stone or plate and applying greasy ink, which will adhere only to the drawn lines.  Dampened paper is applied to the stone and is rubbed over with a special press to make the final work. 


Lithograph - A work produced through photographic reproduction.  Lithography can be a complex process.  Using four or more color separations, the printer works to produce the best facsimile of the artist’s original.  This process is also known as offset lithography.  Today, the field of signed and numbered lithographs has become a widely accepted collector’s market.


Illustration- A general term used for a drawing or an original work of art.


Giclee - Also known as IRIS, is French for a “spurt of color.”  Giclees are made individually and are produced utilizing high resolution digital printers.  They have a higher apparent resolution than lithography and a color range that exceeds that of serigraphy.  The marriage of art and science produces a precise reproduction with similar quality as the original.    Displaying a full color spectrum, a giclee captures every nuance of an original and has gained wide acceptance from artists and galleries throughout the world. 


Mixed Media - Combination of different types of physical materials.


Edition - The number of prints made from an original.  The number generally does not include any artist's proofs or any special editions.


Artist's Proof - A print which is usually not included in the limited edition number.  Usually these prints are signed "Artist Proof" or "AP" with the generally accepted edition size not exceeding ten percent of the limited edition size.  Often these images are given to the artist to retain for their personal collection.


Hand Signed & Numbered - Any print, may be signed and numbered by the artist.  A signature indicates the artist’s approval.  A number expressed for example as 6/200, indicates that the edition is limited to 200 prints and that the piece is the sixth in the edition. The number in the edition is noted in the margin of each print.


Plate Signed, Stone Signed - Some artists sign their prints “in the plate”.  This results in a signature being printed at the same time the print is pulled.  Therefore, while the result may be an original, it is known that the artist did not review each print separately.  It is not the same as the artist's hand signature.


Open Edition- The print produced from an original has an unlimited edition size.  The print may or may not be signed by the artist.





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