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Common 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.

  • Edition 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 printer's proofs.

  • 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 - Printing 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

  • Serigraphy (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.

Print Types

  • (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 proof - 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.

More Fine Art Terminology

  • 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 - Descriptive 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 - Having 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 supervision.

  • 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 - A 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 stylization.

  • 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 the genre.

  • 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 or mixing.

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 including photography.

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 serigraphs? 
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. 

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