Fine Art Terminology
- Giclée - A computerized
reproduction technique in which the image and topology are generated from
a digital file and printed by a special ink jet printer, using ink,
acrylic or oil paints. Giclée printing offers one of the highest degrees
of accuracy and richness of color available in any reproduction
techniques. Giclee prints are often limited edition and hand signed and
numbered by the artist.
Size - The
total number of pieces printed of one particular image. Separate edition
sizes are recorded for the signed and numbered prints, artist's proofs and
- Gallery Wrapped - When a canvas is
stretched around a wooden stretcher or strainer bar (approximately 1.5"
thick) so it can be hung as is without a frame.
- Lithography -
technique using a planographic process in which prints are pulled on a
special press from a flat stone or metal surface that has been chemically
sensitized so that- ink sticks only to the design areas, and is repelled
by the non-image areas.
- Remarque - A small sketch in
the margin of an art print.
- Embellishment -
Additional enhancements on some or all of the prints within an edition.
- Sculpture - Art that is
created in three dimensions. Can be made of a variety of things including
bronze, stone, concrete, wood, plastic, metal, and so much more. Most
sculptures that we carry here at Fascination St. Fine Art are limited
edition, and are signed and numbered by the artist.
- Sericel or
Seriograph - A sericel is created using serigraphy by
silk-screening an image onto an acetate sheet. No hand-painting or inking
is involved. May be produced as a limited edition
(Silkscreen) - A printing technique that makes use of a squeegee to
force ink directly on to a piece of paper or canvas through a stencil
creating an image on a screen of silk or other fine fabric with an
impermeable substance. Serigraphy differs from most other printing in that
its color areas are paint films rather than printing-ink stains.
- (SN) Signed and
Numbered - The
main edition. Limited-edition prints that have been hand signed and
sequentially numbered. The artist's signature is usually found in one of
the lower corners of the print and is accompanied by a number that looks
like a fraction; the top number indicates the unique number of the print
and the bottom number indicates the total number of prints in the edition.
- (AP) Artist's
A small exclusive part of the edition. It is a common practice to reserve
approximately ten percent of an edition as artist's proofs, although this
figure can be lower or higher. Prints are hand signed and numbered by the
artist and generally hold a higher value.
- (HC) Hors d'Commerce
Proof - Print
intended for the artist's personal use. Hors d'Commerce (abbreviated H.C.)
Generally a very small edition size, HC Prints are signed and numbered by
the artist and generally hold a higher value.
- (PP) Printer's
proof - Print
retained by the printer and artist as a reference. Prints are signed and
numbered by the artist and generally hold a higher value.
- Open-Edition: A print with no
set edition size.
- Acid-free Paper or
Canvas - Paper
or canvas treated to neutralize its natural acidity in order to protect
fine art and photographic prints from discoloration and deterioration.
- Acrylic - A fast-drying
paint which is easy to remove with mineral spirits; a plastic substance
commonly used as a binder for paints.
- Aquatint - Printing technique
capable of producing unlimited tonal gradations to re-create the broad
flat tints of ink wash or watercolor drawings by etching microscopic
crackles and pits into the image on a master plate, typically made of copper
or zinc. The majority of Spanish artist Francisco Goya's (1746-1828)
graphic works were done using this technique.
- Collagraph - Printing technique
in which proofs are pulled from a block on which the artwork or design is
built up like a collage, creating a relief.
- Engraving - Printing technique
in which an intaglio image is produced by cutting a metal plate or box
directly with a sharp engraving tool. The incised lines are inked and
printed with heavy pressure.
- Etching - Printing technique
in which a metal plate is first covered with an acid-resistant material,
then worked with an etching needle to create an intaglio image. The
exposed met-al is eaten away in an acid bath, creating depressed lines
that are later inked for printing. This technique was thought re-, have
been developed by Daniel Hopfer (1493-1536). Etching surpassed engraving
as the most popular graphic art during the active years of Rembrandt and
Hercules Segher in the 17th century, and it remains one of the most
versatile and subtle printing techniques today.
- Gouache - Opaque watercolors
used for illustrations.
- Impasto - A thick, juicy
application of paint to canvas or other support; emphasizes texture, as
distinguished from a smooth flat surface.
- Limited Edition - Set of identical prints
numbered in succession and hand signed by the artist. The total number of
prints is fixed or "limited" by the artist. Often the plates
used to create the print are destroyed upon completion of printing.
- Maquette - In sculpture, a
small model in wax or clay, made as a preliminary sketch, presented to the
client for approval of the proposed work, or for entry in a competition.
The Italian equivalent of the term is bozzetto, meaning "small sketch."
- Mixed Media -
of art that employs more than one medium - e.g., a work that combines
paint, natural materials (wood, pebbles, bones), and man-made items
(glass, plastic, metals) into a single image or piece of art.
- Monochromatic -
only one color. Descriptive of work in which one hue - perhaps with
variations of value and intensity - predominates.
- Monoprint - One-of-a-kind
print conceived by the artist and printed by or under the artist's
- Monotype - One-of-a-kind
print made by painting on a sheet of metal or glass and transferring the
still-wet painting to a sheet of paper by hand or with an etching press.
If enough paint remains on the master plate, additional prints can be
made, however, the reprint will have substantial variations from the
original Image. Monotype printing is not a multiple-replica process since
each print is unique.
- Photorealism -
painting and drawing style of the mid-20th century in which people,
objects, and scenes are depicted with such naturalism that the paintings
resemble photographs - an almost exact visual duplication of the subject.
- Pop Art - A style of art
which seeks its inspiration from commercial art and items of mass culture
(such as comic strips, popular foods and brand name packaging). Pop art
was first developed in New York City in the late 1950's and soon became
the dominant avant-garde art form in the United States.
- Realism - A style of
painting which depicts subject matter (form, color, space) as it appears
in actuality or ordinary visual experience without distortion or
- Surrealism - A painting style
of the early 20th century that emphasized imagery and visions from dreams
and fantasies, as well as an intuitive, spontaneous method of recording
such imagery, often combining unrelated or unexpected objects in
compositions. The works of Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali are included in
- Triptych - A three-part work
of art; especially a painting, meant for placement on an altar, with three
panels that fold together.
- Watercolor - A painting medium
in which the binder is gum arabic. Water is used to thinning, lightening
What is a Giclée? From the French verb "to spray", the
word Giclée (zhee-clay) is used to describe a digital fine art printmaking
process. Giclée prints are created using a high-resolution inkjet printer.
Photographic images or paintings are carefully scanned and reproduced using
stable pigment-based inks. Giclée's are printed on a variety of substrates or
mediums, the most common being watercolor paper or canvas. The giclée process
is a way to ensure image permanence for artists and collectors - giclée prints
have fade & color shift resistance of better than 125 years. The digital
printmaking process is capable of producing exceptional results for both
original printmakers and for the reproduction of original works of art; because
of its extended color gamut and continuous tone characteristics, digital
printmaking is considered a superior technology for printing all forms of art
How do I care for my Giclée print? You can extend the life expectancy of a giclée art
print by not hanging them in direct sunlight or in rooms with excessive
moisture. Care for them as you would any fine artwork on paper and they will
reward you with many years of pleasure. Often giclée are coated with a UV
lacquer spray which increases protection against harmful UV radiation. Additional
protection can be achieved by using glass incorporating a UV filtering layer.
How do Giclée prints differ from lithographs and
Offset lithographs are created by
taking a continuous tone image and processing it through a screen. The result
is an image created with a series of dots, each one proportional in size to the
density of the original at the location of that dot. The human eye is
consequently "tricked" into seeing something that approximates a
continuous tone image. Most printed material such as newspapers and magazines
are printed with this process.
Serigraphs are really screen prints. These
prints are made by creating a set of screens, each representing one color. Ink
is then squeezed through the screen and onto the media. For fine art
reproduction purposes, the number of screens required to approximate the tonal
qualities of the original are typically from 20 to more than 100. The larger
the number of screens, the closer a serigraph can appear to be continuous tone
and the more expensive it is to produce.
Giclée prints have many advantages over both
the offset lithograph and the serigraph. The color available for giclée
processing is limited only by the color gamut of the inks themselves.
Therefore, literally millions of colors are available and the limitation
imposed by the screening process does not exist. The giclée process uses such small dots and so many of
them that they are not discernible to the eye. A giclée print is essentially a
continuous tone print showing every color and tonal nuance.