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February 5, 2013

Art Auction Terms

Auction Specific Terms


Auction Coordinator: A member of the artnet staff that handles all administrative tasks pertaining to a given seller, buyer, or the auctions in general.

Active Listing: The terminology used in reference to any lot which is currently up for auction, live on the artnet Auctions site, and available for bidding or purchase.

After Sale Offer (ASO): After the close of an auction, if the item did not sell, the seller can make an After Sale Offer to losing bidders of the lot for their high bid.

Auction ID: A unique number that is automatically generated for an item which goes live on the online auctions site. This number is never re-used.

Auto-Relist: At the end of the auction, if the piece goes unsold, it will automatically go back up for auction with a new item number if the seller chooses this option.

Bid: A legally binding offer of a specific amount of money in exchange for an item which is up for auction on the artnet Auctions site. This term also defines "Single Bid."

Bid Agent: If a buyer entered a "Maximum Bid," rather than a single bid for an item which is up for auction on the artnet Auctions site, artnet will automatically bid on the buyer's behalf up to the maximum amount entered.

Bidding History: The bidding history shows the recent bidding activity of a specific lot.

Block Bidder: The action of blocking a particular bidder from a single auction or a seller's future auctions, by request of the seller.

Buy: The act of purchasing an item through the artnet Auctions site.

Buyer: A member who is registered with artnet Auctions, with the ability to purchase items.

Condition Report: A form noting any damage/unusual characteristics pertaining to an item and the location of said damages. This form serves as a guide to help ensure a complete survey of the item, and assists in the standardization of information to help eliminate oversights on the part of the seller.

Demo: An online demonstration of a product or service to assist the user in a more thorough understanding of the product.

Estimate Range: A valuation of an item for sale within a range, from low to high. This serves as an approximation of monetary value.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions, or a list of the most common questions and their responses.

Launch Profile: A grouping of listings set to go live in the auctions at specific dates and times.

Lot: A lot is an item or grouping of items.

Make An Offer (MAO): The Make An Offer feature allows a seller to receive price-based offers from buyers, which can be accepted at the discretion of the seller. This feature is only available for Purchase Now listings, and once a buyer's Offer has been accepted by the seller, the listing ends. Each offer is binding, just like a bid, and good for 48 hours. When an offer is accepted, all remaining buyers are automatically declined by the Make an Offer system.

Markings: Any kind of notation done by the artist on a work of art.

Member Services Page: An overview of artnet's services. This page also provides users with the ability to subscribe to products that they don't currently use, and shows their current subscriptions.

Provenance: The place of origin, proof of authenticity, or record of previous ownership of an object.

Purchase Now (PN): Purchase Now is a feature that allows a buyer to purchase an item immediately for a price the seller has set. Sellers can use the Purchase Now feature in Standard Auctions or alone.

Privacy Policy: This is artnet's official statement on the type of information collected on the site, how the information will be used, how the person can access this data, and the steps for having the data removed. This policy also includes information regarding systems that are in place to protect the information of website users.

Profile: For the seller, this consists of their current inventory available for auction, information about their business, a link to contact them, and their "Feedback." For the buyer, this consists of their "Feedback," number of bid retractions, number of items purchased, and a link to contact them.

Raisonne Number: The specific record of a particular work of art by an artist as contained within the Catalogue Raisonne.

Reserve Price: The lowest price which a seller is willing to accept for an item.

Retract Bid: When a buyer wishes to withdraw his or her bid on a specific item, he or she will go through the bid retraction process found within the FAQ.

Screen Name: A screen name is a name for the user, created so that he or she may remain anonymous.

Search: A mechanism for the act of searching artnet Auctions for specified details, such as keywords or artist's names, in order to locate lots for sale that relate to the users interests.

Sell: To sell is to exchange or deliver an item for money.

Seller: A user who is registered on the artnet Auctions site. He or she is permitted to exchange goods for money and purchase items from other sellers.

Standard Auction: An auction format which allows sellers to list an item for sale, collect bids for a fixed length of time, and sell the item to the highest bidder.

Starting Price: The lowest price a seller is willing to accept for his or her item (unless a Reserve Price was specified.) Bidding will start at this price.

Unregistered User: An individual who uses the site to view auctions, but is not registered to either buy or sell.

Login Name: The private name for each seller or buyer that is not publicly displayed; this is the name they use to log in to the site.

Watch List/Alerts: A list in which a buyer will find specific lots which he or she has either bid on or tagged. The buyer will be notified of any new changes in the bidding history of these lots.

Win/Won: Occurs when a bidder has made the high bid of an item for sale and, if applicable, has also met the item's reserve.


Condition Report Terms


Acid Burn: Brown discoloration on paper, resulting from acidic matting or mounting materials.

Adhesive Failure: Occurs when the adhesive deteriorates to the point of collapse. This can be found in works on paper (e.g., prints that have been mounted or collaged).

Biological Degradation: Any interruption in the original material due to current or previous biological infestation or insect damage, such as holes or remaining dust-like material.

Bloom: Occurs when moisture penetrates a varnished surface, causing cloudy areas to appear.

Broken/Separated Element: A broken element is part of an item that has been fractured into two or more parts. A separated element is part of an item that has been become disconnected.

Canvas Relined: When the original canvas of a painting has been damaged or weakened, the piece is removed from its stretchers, backed in linen or canvas, and placed on its original stretchers or on new ones.

Canvas Re-stretched: When the original canvas of a painting has been tightened on its original stretchers, or taken off of its original stretchers and placed on new ones.

Check: A partial split in the woods grain. This occurs when there is uneven shrinkage, which most commonly extends across the rings of annual growth. These lengthwise separations usually result from stress due to air or kiln-drying.

Corrosion/Pitting: Corrosion is a chemical reaction between a material (usually metal) and its environment, which produces a deterioration of the material's properties. In some instances, corrosion can occur in a small or confined area in the form of pits on a metal surface. Pitting is an extreme, concentrated attack on a material which may take months, or even years, to become visible.

Crazing: In ceramics, a mismatch in the thermal expansion between the glaze of an item and its physical body often causes small hairline cracks of the glazed surface, which can potentially compromise the piece's structural integrity.

Craquelure: A network of fine cracks on a painting's surface, typically due to elemental expansion, contraction, and age.

Creases: Occur when a material has been folded or bent, creating a line or ridge on the surface without breaking or tearing the material.

Deterioration: Any reduction of quality, use, or aesthetics due to physical impairment.

Fading/Bleaching: Loss of brightness and/or brilliance of color. This occurs when excessive ultra-violet light exposure causes the surface of the piece to become discolored and loose brilliance.

Foxing: Reddish-brown mold spots that appear on paper and textiles due to water exposure or high levels of humidity.

Indentations: Any chip, dent, gouge, tear, abrasion, or loss occurring from force.

Inpainting: Application of paint to re-establish an item's visual continuity. This can be used to replace paint loss or disguise craquelure.

Instaining: Application of stain, typically to a wooden surface, in the area of a loss to re-establish an item's visual continuity.

Late Additions: When an artist authorizes a print re-strike with or without changes to the original plate.

Missing Element: Part of an item that has been lost.

Overpainting: Occurs when a restorer does not possess the correct skills to retouch a damaged area on an item and extends beyond the confines of a loss into undamaged areas.

Paint Loss: The absence of paint in areas where it was previously located, due to age and other influences.

Painting Varnished: During the restoration process, the restorer will often varnish the surface of an oil or acrylic painting to protect the image from dirt, dust, smoke, grease, or other pollutants.

Patina: The result of natural or artificial oxidation on a surface, which produces corrosion, texture, or a thin layer of color that can range in hue. In bronze sculpture, patina specifically refers to the alteration of the surface by the sculptor with acid or other chemicals.

Remains of Hinges: Works on paper, prints, and photographs are often attached to a mat with paper hinges and a chemically neutral, non-staining, and permanent adhesive. Each hinge is attached to the piece and the back board, allowing easy removal from the board should the necessity arise.

Repurposed: An item that has been repurposed no longer performs its original function, and retains only aesthetic value.

Requires Cleaning: An item requires cleaning if there is an accumulation of unrelated matter on its surface (e.g., dirt, dust, grime, fungus, mold, wax).

Restoration: The process of halting the decay of a work of art and/or returning it to its original state.

Rippled Paper: When environmental influences cause disruptions, ridges, or buckling of paper.

Separation: Disconnection between two previously attached layers of a structure. For example, when varnish peels from the surface to which it was applied.

Skinning: Excessive cleaning. This occurs when a piece has experienced exorbitant intervention from a restorer or conservationist, removing a portion of the original media.

Staining: Occurs when foreign materials react with the surface of an item and create discoloration or spotting.

Surface Abrasions: Visible result of wearing, grinding, scratching, or tearing of a surface due to friction.

Surface Soiling: Accumulation of dirt, or other materials, upon the face of an item, including fingerprints.

Tears/Holes: Openings in a surface caused by forcibly pulling the piece apart.

Trimmed Margins: When the margins of a two dimensional work of art have been reduced. This typically occurs during the framing process.

Verso: Refers to the back or underside of a sheet of paper.

Water Damage/Warping: Includes any type of damage caused by contact with water or humidity such as staining, warping, or loosening of material.


Lot Detail Terms


Artist Name: The name by which the artist is known professionally.

Catalogue Raisonné: Complete documentary listing of all works by an artist known at the time of compilation. It includes an identifying catalogue number for each work listed, as well as information such as provenance, current location, and/or exhibition history.

Edition: Set of prints, photographs, or sculptures, made from a single image of one plate, negative, or mold, and numbered consecutively. For example, a piece marked 20/100 is the 20th print out of 100 prints which were produced. These editions vary in size, and artists often choose to duplicate impressions on different types of paper or in different colors.

Exhibition: The public display of a work of art. An artist’s work can be included in a solo exhibition, a retrospective exhibition, or a group exhibition. Solo exhibitions feature a variety of works by a single artist. Retrospective exhibitions typically look historically at the career of an artist, or summarize an artist’s works to date. Group exhibitions are usually created around a specific theme or idea. These exhibitions are composed of a variety of works from multiple artists, and include many different media.

Foundry: A workshop where cast metal sculpture is created.

Medium: The material(s) an artist utilized in creating a work of art, such as oil paint, acrylic, or bronze. The material that a work was created on, such as canvas or wood, is also considered to be part of the medium. For example, one might say that the medium of an oil painting is "oil on canvas."

Print/Casting Year: Works of art produced in an edition, such as prints, sculpture, and photography, can have a second applicable date. For example, a photograph taken in 1932 could be printed or re-printed in 1975.

Publications: Includes any publications in which either the specific work of art or artist was noted.

Publisher: The printer or foundry that produces an artist’s work in multiples (i.e., an edition). For example, Atelier Mourlot of Paris, France, was the publisher for Pablo Picasso’s prints.

Size: An item’s height, width, and depth noted in either inches or centimeters.

Title: The name by which a work of art is formally known.

Year: The year a work of art was created.

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