Artwork Terms to Know

We like to simplify artistic language at the Redlin Art Center. So we’ve compiled a list of common industry art terms you may need to know.

What is an artist proof? In offset reproductions, artist’s proofs are additional prints not included in, but of the same quality as, the regular edition. In original prints, artist’s proofs are the first prints pulled, which are the truest prints in the edition because the plates and screens have not yet been worn down. Artist’s proofs are distinguished by the abbreviation AP and are numbered separately. They usually represent 10% of an edition and are slightly more expensive than prints in the regular edition.

What is a canvas print? A reproduction in which an image is printed directly onto canvas. View canvas prints.

What is a canvas transfer? A reproduction in which inks are chemically lifted off a piece of paper and applied to a piece of canvas.

What is a certificate of authenticity? A warranty card or statement of authenticity of a limited-edition print that records the title of the work, the artist’s name, the edition size and the print’s number within the edition, the number of the artist’s proofs, and the release date. It is a guarantee that the edition is limited and that the image will not be published again in the same form.

What is a dealer? Galleries, collectible shops or individuals who carry and sell artwork. Authorized dealers are those who, by signed agreement, carry and sell the artwork represented by certain print publishers.

What is a distributor? A person or company responsible for marketing and selling prints and supplying prints to galleries. Sometimes the publisher and the distributor are the same entity.

What is a limited-edition print? A reproduction of an original work of art that is signed and sequentially numbered by the artist. The total number of prints is fixed or limited by the artist or the publisher.

What is an open-edition print? A reproduction of an original work of art that is sometimes signed by the artist. The number of prints published is not predetermined.

What is an original painting? A one-of-a-kind image created by an artist that often sells for several thousands of dollars. Over 100 of Terry Redlin’s original oil paintings are on display in the Redlin Art Center and can be viewed in the Collection.

What is the secondary market? An unofficial network of dealers and individuals who buy and sell prints above the issue price after a publisher sells out of an image.

What is the secondary market value? The reported price for a sold-out limited edition is set by supply and demand. Unlike retail prices, secondary market prices can vary from one source to another.

What does signed and numbered mean? Limited-edition prints that have been signed and sequentially numbered by the artist. 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 number of the print, and the bottom number indicates the total number of prints in the edition.

What does sold-out mean? When all prints in a limited edition have been sold, the edition is sold-out and prints must be bought and sold on the secondary market.

What is a time-limited edition? An edition whose size is established by the number of orders a publisher receives during a set period of time.

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