Fine Art Glossary

Agamograph: Artwork by Agam where one single lenticular lithograph representing different images can be seen independently, successively, or fused together. The image changes constantly as in Agam’s polymorph paintings. This form was the first time that movement has been incorporated into a two-dimensional graphic art form.
Click To View An Agamograph

Aquatint: A printing method in which areas of color are made by dusting powder resin on a metal plate and then letting acid eat the plate surface away from around resin deposit.

Artist Proof: Customarily the artist reserves the right to create some additional prints, usually no more than 10% to 15% of the total numbered edition, for his/her personal use including sale or gifts to museums. An artist proof is a print outside the regular numbered edition but printed at the same time and equal in quality to the numbered prints in every way. These additional prints are usually identified (near where the number would otherwise be located) by one of the following markings: Artists Proof written in longhand or A.P. (or a/p), or in French Epreuve d’artist in longhand (or e.a.).

H.C. (also Hors dé commerce): French, meaning literally “out of trade”. A limited few prints of an edition intended for use as examples of the edition but not necessarily for sale. Sometimes called Editior’s Proofs. H.C.’s are often used for exhibitions and marketing use.

Atelier: French for “printer’s workshop” or “studio”. The atelier is the printer who prints the artwork.

Bon-à-tirer (also B.A.T.): This is a French term meaning “good to pull” or “good to be printed”. This is a special proof which is generally signed in pencil and designated to advise the printer of the artist’s final approval to print the edition. This B.A.T. serves as the standard by which each following print is to be compared, and generally exists as only one per edition.

Chop Mark: Also called dry stamp or seal, most often done in the form of an embossing near the lower edge of a print by an artist, workshop, publisher, or printer. This “chop” may be used to authenticate a print.

Chromist: An artist craftsman, “one who works with color”, who separates paintings or drawings into individual colors and initiates the plates that are used to print an edition.

Deckled Edges: Deckled edges give the look of hand torn paper. This look is achieved when paper is hand made or when paper is actually hand torn. These rough edges are desirable for they provide a hand-made look to the print. Framers can frame these pieces so that the deckled edges remain visible.

Giclée: This is a newer form of printmaking referring to those images printed through use of a digital printer. Artwork for these prints may actually be created on a computer, or created on paper and then scanned into a computer. Because there is less ink applied to the substrate (paper) compared to a serigraph, using this Giclée method is felt by many to be a less durable form of printing and probably less resistant to fading.

Kinetic Art: Art that explores the concept of time and space through movement. For instance, Agam introduces this sense of time in his art in order to integrate the fourth dimension. He is considered the “Father of Kinetic Art”. Artist Len Janklow also uses the concept of movement and time in his art.
Click To View Kinetic Art

Limited Edition Print: A print from a predetermined number of impressions made from a plate, stone, screen, or other method, after which no more impressions are to be taken. It is signed and numbered in pencil by the artist and the plate or screen is then destroyed.

Lithography: Printing technique in which image areas on a lithographic stone or metal plate are chemically treated to accept ink and repel water, while non-image areas repel ink and retain water. One plate must be drawn for each color in the finished print.

Monoprint: Also known as Monotype, is a print that is somewhat different from print to print due to variances in the inking. So although the image might be the same, unlike a numbered limited edition, each print has some differences and so is unique. Sometimes a monoprint is number 1/1.

Multigraph: Agam “kinetic” technique using one single print formed of two elements: background image and slotted, sliding grid. Different compositions are created as the viewer moves the grid. There are a great variety of images available depending on the grid’s position.

Multiple or Limited Edition Fine Art Multiple: A work of art, sculpture, usually realized in three dimensions and produced in a limited quantity. A variety of fabrication techniques are utilized-in rare cases including imaging with serigraphy-which have been designated by the artist under his direct supervision and control, and upon completion the artist inspects, signs and numbers each object after which no further multiples are produced.

Original Print: Also called Limited Edition Graphic. A print, usually a distinct edition, produced through collaboration of artist, master printer, and chromist. The artist creates the image and is also often involved in forming some of the color separations and works with printer to approve ink mixes. The artist usually supervises the printing process and has the final word on quality approval. As an Original Print is a unique art form of its own and not an exact copy of any original painting, and since each regular edition print has is own distinct number, every print in the entire limited edition is considered its own “original print”.

Polymorphic Graphic: Agam is the master of this technique, a single silk-screened image presented in triangular relief. Depending on the position of the viewer, the print reveals different images. The viewer is encouraged to move and shift position in order to see the artwork in its entirety.
Click To View Polymorphic Graphic

Polymorphic Multigraph: An image that combines both the three-dimensionality of the Polymorph with the participation of a Multigraph, designed by Agam.
Click To View Polymorphic Multigraph

Poster: A poster is a print or graphic which includes words, letters or announcements in a format beyond the artist’s actual image. Usually printed in large quantity on high-speed offset litho presses and on thinner paper, posters typically do not exhibit the higher quality or greater durability of a Print (Original Limited Edition Print). Often, upon close inspection, the various colors are really not solids but composites of just a few colors (4-color process) to save expense in printing. Sometimes a poster may be hand-signed by the artist, enhancing its value.
African American Themed Posters

Printer’s Proof: As with the Artist Proofs, the Printer’s Proofs, or PP’s are also printed at the same time as the rest of the edition and then signed as PP (or P/P) instead of being numbered. These proofs are given to the printer for his attention to the details of printing the edition. Some collectors feel that these proofs might be of a better quality than the rest of the edition as the printer may have put aside the best prints for himself. In actuality, the prints in an edition are generally all equal.

Prismagraph: A single Agam serigraph print partially covered by a series of clear transparent acrylic prisms. The combination of the graphic and the prisms and the viewer’s movement creates an intensified, four-dimensional changing vision.  Alternative spelling: prismograph.
Click To View Prismagraph

Publisher: The art publisher is the individual or group of individuals who has sponsored an edition and has underwritten the costs of printing that edition. The publisher “owns” the edition and usually will distribute it to art galleries for re-sale to the public. Sometimes an artist will act as publisher for himself.

Reproduction: A print or graphic reproduced from a pre-existing painting, sketch, watercolor, photograph, etching, serigraph, lithograph, aquatint, etc. whose image was captured through any photomechanical or digital method or other copying or transfer method, or any printed piece that otherwise does not meet the guidelines of an Original Print.

Serigraphic Poster: This is a poster of a much higher quality than most offset litho posters due to the heavier layer of ink applied by serigraphy (screen printing) which enhances the vibrancy of the colors and durability of the art. Generally these posters have more of the look and feel of a limited edition serigraph than a common offset litho poster.
Click To View Serigraphic Poster

Serigraphic Sculpture: Sculptures which combine the imaging process of screen printing or serigraphy onto the substrate, such as clear acrylic, often with multiple, moveable panels and a base. Yankel Ginzburg has worked extensively in perfecting this art form.
Click To View Serigraphic Sculpture

Serigraphy: Also known as silk screen or screen printing. This is a process using a fabric to support a stenciled image. Ink is forced through the unblocked portion of the fabric mesh by a squeegee to create a print. Each color must be screened separately, so that an edition with many colors becomes very labor intensive. As serigraphy uses a heavier layer of ink in creating prints, it is a very durable form of printing yielding colors that are richer and more fade resistant than most other forms of printing. Many substrates can be serigraphed including paper, heavy cardboard, canvas, metals, and clear acrylics.

Signed and Numbered: Authenticated with the artist’s signature, the total number of impressions (pieces) in the numbered edition, and the order in which the impression is signed; “5/200” indicates that the print is the fifth signed of an edition of 200 impressions.

Special Edition: A subsequent printing edition with modifications of color, design, or substrate which is then produced as a new and usually smaller quantity edition.

Sculpture: Sculpture is any three-dimensional form created as an artistic expression. Sculpture is primarily concerned with space: occupying it, relating to it, and influencing the perception of it.
Click To View Sculpture

Substrate: Refers to the surface that the art image is printed on, such as paper, canvas, board, or clear acrylic. Some durable substrates require the artist to engrave or use tools other than pencil to apply his signature permanently to the artwork.

Uniques: One of a kind prints or sculptures, including test prints, study prints and one time shapes and castings.
Click To View Uniques


Note:  Some of the above definitions have been borrowed from “The Code of Ethics For Original Printmaking” by Nicole Malenfant and Richard Ste-Marie, published by Conseil quebecois de l’estampe in Montreal CANADA.

If you would to inquire about Zimmerman Fine Art, please send us an email today!