Back to Price Database Search Page Auction & Art Glossary


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

Catalogue Raisonne: 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.

Condition Report: Notes any damage or unusual characteristics relating to an item or work of art. The type and location of damage are explained in detail to ensure a complete examination.

Edition: Set of prints, photographs or sculptures, made from a single image off 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 color states.

Estimate: An approximate calculation of degree or worth. When quoting the value of a piece, appraisers often take into consideration specific characteristics such as date, medium, size, technique, style, condition, and/or rarity.

Exhibition: The public display of a work of art. Artists can have a solo exhibition, retrospective exhibition, or be part of a group exhibition. Solo exhibitions consist of a single artist and may include a variety of works. Retrospective exhibitions typically look historically at the career of an artist or summarize the artist's works to date. Group exhibitions are usually created around a specific theme or idea, or composed of a variety of works from multiple artists, and embody many different mediums.

Foundry: A workshop where cast metal sculpture is created.

Markings: Any identifying features found on an item for sale (e.g., signature, stamp, manufacturers mark, silver mark).

Medium: The material/materials 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 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 might have been taken in 1932, but printed or re-printed in 1975 from the original negative.

Provenance: The history or exact record of ownership for a work of art. The provenance of a work of art helps museum staff, curators, gallerists and auction houses determine valuation and authenticity.

Publications: Any publication 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.


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. 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. 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 materials 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.

Crackle: The network of fissures or cracks in a finish layer such as varnish, lacquer, or shellac, due to age degradation, expansion and contraction from climate changes, and other causes.

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 pieces structural integrity.

Craquelure: A network of fine cracks on a paintings 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.

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

Fading / Bleaching: Loss of brightness and/or brilliance of color. 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 items visual continuity. 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 items 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. 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. 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.


Fine Art: Works of art that are created specifically for their aesthetic value, such as painting and sculpture.

Decorative Art: Arts traditionally defined as ornamental or functional such as furniture and ceramics.

Mid-Century and Contemporary Design: Functional and ornamental pieces specifically from the middle of the 20th century to date, such as furniture and ceramics - typically designer signed.


Painting: The practice of applying pigment combined with a binding agent to a surface such as paper, canvas, wood, glass or other.

Acrylic: Water-based plastic paint consisting of pigments bound in an acrylic resin mixture. Can be thinned with water while wet, but becomes tough and water resistant once dry.

Alkyd: Synthetic resin used in the manufacturing of paints and varnishes. An alkyd is a mixture of alcohol and acid and must be thinned with solvent or paint thinner. Alykds dry faster than oils but not as fast as acrylic paints.

Encaustic: The process of painting by mixing dry pigments with molten wax and varying amounts of Damar varnish. Hot wax painting is easily manipulated, resulting in a variety of textures and color combinations.

Fresco: A painting technique, perfected at the time of the Renaissance, in which pigments suspended in water are applied to a damp plaster surface. As the pigments dry, they become a part of the plaster or wall surface.

Gouache: Painting medium similar to watercolor characterized by pigments suspended in water. However, due to the presence of chalk, gouache produces a heavier and more opaque image than watercolor.

Ink / Wash: Also known as East Asian brush painting, ink/wash painting was developed in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Artists typically grind their own ink by combining water with densely packed ink sticks on a grinding stone. Ink and wash paintings require a highly skilled artist since brushstrokes cannot be erased.

Mixed Media Painting: A mixed media painting employs multiple media to create a final piece. For example, a work on canvas that combines paint, ink, and collage is considered a mixed media painting.

Oil Paint: Technique developed during the 15th and 16th centuries in which slow-drying paint is made by mixing color pigments with an oil base.

Pastel: Pastels are sticks of color, typically made from oil or chalk. Artists use pastels to create a soft and delicate image. The medium can often be unforgiving, as it is difficult for the artist to fix a mistake.

Chalk pastels: The most widely used form of pastel, soft chalk pastels are brightly-colored and easily blended.

Oil pastels: Oil pastels have similar characteristics to chalk, or soft, pastels. However, they are difficult to blend and have a more buttery consistency.

Sumi-e: Literally meaning “ink painting,” Sumi-e paintings are monochromatic and typically associated with the practice of Zen Buddhism. This elegant form of painting was developed in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

Tempera: A medium that was prevalent in Orthodox paintings during Southern Europe’s Middle Ages. The artist combines egg yolk, egg white, and oil to bind a range of pigments on a rigid support such as wood paneling.

Watercolor: Painting that is characterized by colorful pigments dissolved in water to produce a translucent image.


Photography: The art of recording images by capturing light on surfaces sensitized by a chemical process.

Albumen Print: An albumen print is created by the process developed by Louis Desire Blanquart-Evrard in 1850, which uses egg whites and photographic chemicals to produce a print on paper from a negative.

Autochrome: Autochrome refers to the color “screen-plate” process developed by the Lumiere brothers in 1903. It was the principal color photography process until it was replaced by color film in the mid-1930s.

Calotype: A calotype is a photomechanical method for reproducing photographic images. While it is no longer practiced as a commercial process, it was considered the height of fine art photography beginning in the 1970s.

Carbon Print: First produced in 1864 by Joseph Wilson Swan, a carbon print is a photographic print created by immersing a carbon tissue in a solution of potassium bichromate, carbon, gelatin and a coloring agent.

C-Print: Developed in 1930, the c-print is the most universal type of color photograph, created using at least three emulsion layers of light sensitive silver salts. Each layer is sensitized to a specific primary color. As a result, each layer records different information for the color make up of an image.

Collodion Negative: A collodion negative is produced by the colorless, high quality duplication process developed by Frederick Scott Archer and Gustave Le Gray in 1850.

Cyanotype: Cyanotype is an older printing method which uses a monochrome photographic process to produce a cyan-blue print.

Daguerreotype: The Daguerreotype was the first commercial photographic process. Named for Louis-Jacques Monde Daguerre, it is a positive print on a light-sensitive copper plate.

Digital print: Digital photography refers to electronically captured images composed of digital values, or pixels. Iris prints, giclee prints, and digital archival prints are three examples of popular digital printing methods.

Dye Destruction Print: Dye destruction prints are characterized by their vibrant color. These prints are created using three emulsion layers, each one specifically sensitized to a different primary color and containing a dye relevant to that color. During the process, different information is recorded from each layer creating the final image in which three layers are perceived as one.

Dye Transfer Print: Dye transfer prints are created from three separate negatives by photographing the original negative through red, green, and blue filters. The result is a richly colored image on gelatin coated paper.

Montage / Photomontage: This term refers to a single image formed from assembling many existing images such as photographs or prints.

Photogenic Drawing: Photogenic drawing was the first cameraless photographic process, discovered by William Fox Talbot in 1839. Talbot used a high quality sheet of paper which was immersed in a solution of table salt. After the paper dried, he brushed it with silver nitrate creating a light sensitive surface and placed small objects such as leaves and lace on the paper. The result was a light image of the object against a dark background, or a negative image.

Photogram: This process, created without the use of a camera, records photo-sensitive material by exposing it to light. Similar to an X-ray, the final image records silhouetted images on photographic paper.

Photogravure: Developed in the 1830s by Henry Fox Talbot, photogravure, the intaglio printmaking process, produces images from a flat, etched copper plate.

Platinum Print: Created in 1873 by William Willis, platinum prints utilize the light sensitivity of iron salts to produce an image. During the developing process, chemical reactions dissolve the iron salts and replace them with platinum. Platinum prints were extremely popular until the 1920s when the price of platinum rose and became too expensive. They are valued for their range of tonal variations and permanence.

Polaroid: Polaroid refers to the synthetic plastic sheet used to polarize light, typically associated with the instant camera and self-developing film.

Salt Print: The earliest form of photographic positive paper, salt prints were the most common print type until the invention of the albumen. Developed in 1840 by William Fox Talbot, they were created by soaking a sheet of paper in a salt solution and coating it with silver nitrate. This created a light sensitive paper which typically produced sepia prints with a matte surface.

Silver Print: Silver prints are created by the most common method for producing black and white prints in photography. These prints are generated using papers coated with gelatin that contain light-sensitive silver salts. By 1895, the Gelatin-silver print had replaced the Albumen print, because it did not yellow with age and was easier to produce.

Woodburytype: The term woodburytype refers to the photomechanical process in which continuous tone is created in slight relief. In this process, a gelatin film is exposed under a photographic negative and hardened according to the amount of light. The film is then placed in hot water removing all unexposed gelatin, dried, and pressed into a sheet of lead. As a result, an intaglio plate is created, filled with pigmented gelatin, and pressed onto paper producing a final image.


Printmaking: Process in which a work can be recreated from a single image.

Intaglio Methods: Intaglio includes the engraving, etching and drypoint methods of printmaking, and is produced via cuts made in a metal surface. These incised areas are then filled with ink and rolled through a press, thus transferring an image to paper. All intaglio prints have platemarks.

Aquatint: In this intaglio method of printmaking, a porous ground coats a metal plate, which is then immersed in acid allowing an even biting of the plate. The resulting image has a grainy and textural effect.

Chine Colle: A chine colle print is created by affixing layers of thinner sheets of paper to a heavier sheet, and then making an intaglio impression. The thinner top sheets take the impression much more easily than a heavier paper, creating a sense of depth in the printed image, both physically and visually.

Drypoint: Often used in combination with engraving or etching techniques, lines are scratched or gouged onto a metal plate creating a burr. The raised burr is quite pronounced and is not eliminated when printing, resulting in a heavier line than with engraving alone.

Engraving: The most popular of the intaglio methods of printmaking, an engraved print is created by scratching or cross-hatching into the surface of a polished metal plate. The plate is then inked, covered with a sheet of paper and run through a press. The areas of the plate which are incised print, transferring the final image to paper.

Etching: Etching refers to the process of using acid to cut into a metal plate. After the plate has “etched,” it is covered with ink and run through the press revealing the etched image on paper.

Mezzotint: In this method of printmaking the artist creates a dark base on a metal plate using a cutting instrument called a "rocker." Then, using a scraper, the artist burnishes the plate in the areas in which he desires to achieve a lighter color. Finally, the artist inks the plate and rolls it through a press topped with a piece of paper to create the final image.

Mixed Method Engraving: This is a method of intaglio printmaking which combines two or more methods.

Photogravure: Developed in the 1830s by Henry Fox Talbot, photogravure is an intaglio printmaking process in which an image is transferred to a flat, etched copper plate, hand-inked and printed.

Steel Engraving: Steel engravings utilize plates composed of a harder metal, as opposed to the traditional copper plate. This method is preferable when creating designs intended for large editions as the plate will not degrade as rapidly.

Stipple Engraving: Rather than etching lines, the design in this method of printmaking is created by applying large numbers of incised dots to the plate’s surface, similar to pointillism in painting.

Planographic Methods: Planographic methods include all types of prints which are drawn on a flat surface and run through a press.

Lithography: Lithography is a method of printmaking based on the concept of the repulsion of oil and water. In this process, the artist uses a grease-based chalk to draw an image on stone. An oil-based ink is then applied to the stones surface allowing the ink to stick to the greased areas of the stone. The stone is then inked, and the image is transferred to paper, after being run through a press.

Chromolithography: This term refers to any lithograph which is printed in color. A chromolithograph requires a separate printing for each color.

Relief Methods: A relief print is one when material such as part of a wood block, a piece of linoleum, a metal plate or other carvable material left in relief to be printed black and the remainder is cut away.

Embossing: Embossing is the process of creating an impression of an image that results in a raised surface. This can be done alone (blind embossing) or over an already printed image.

Linocut: The linocut is a 20th century variation on the woodcut. It is created in the same manner, except that a piece of linoleum, which is soft and pliable, is used instead of wood.

Ukiyo-e: Literally translated, this means "pictures of the floating world."  A Ukiyo-e is a traditional Japanese woodblock print dating from the Edo period (1603-1867).

Woodcut: Woodcut is a printmaking method in which the artist works on a plank of wood, cutting away the parts of the design which are not to be printed. The wooden surface is then inked, covered with a sheet of paper and run through a press.

Wood Engraving: A wood engraving is a variation on the woodcut. Differing from a woodcut, it is done using the cut end of a piece of wood, as opposed to the plank side. Harder wood is typically employed to create a finer line in comparison to the soft, heavy lines associated with woodcuts.

Stenciling Methods: This printmaking method refers to the principle of cutting or creating a hole in a protected surface and applying color through the hole to the surface beneath.

Serigraph or Silk-Screen: Serigraphs, also known as silk-screens, are created from a special type of stencil. A screen is made of porous fabric and stretched over a wood or aluminum frame. Parts of the screen are covered with non-permeable material forming a stencil.  The areas which allow ink to pass freely create the final image, which can be printed on a number of different grounds, including fabric and paper.

Pochoir: Defined as "stencil" in French, a pochoir print is hand-colored and created with a series of carefully cut stencils. This method of printmaking was most prevalent during the early part of the 20th century in Paris and frequently used for fashion plates during the Art Deco period.

Monotype or Monoprint: The monotype/monoprint incorporates both printmaking and painting, producing a single impression by using pressure to transfer a painted image to paper.


Sculpture: Sculpture is a three-dimensional work of art created through carving, modeling, casting and construction.

Acrylic / Plastic: Acrylic/plastic is a synthetic material made from the polymerization of organic compounds. As technology advanced, the use of plastics in art became more prevalent in the latter half of the 20th century.

Brass: Brass is an alloy of zinc and copper.

Bronze: A very dense alloy of 60% copper and 40% tin, bronze is the most universally popular metal used in the casting of sculpture.

Composite: Composite materials are made from two or more substances with significantly different properties.

Glass: Glass refers to a uniform amorphous solid material created from the rapid cooling of molten materials.

Expendable Mold Casting: Expendable mold casting includes most methods which use mold making materials such as sand, shell, plaster and investment. A characteristic of these methods is their use of temporary, non-reusable molds.

Non-expendable Mold Casting: Non-expendable mold casting differs from expendable in that the molds do not have to be reformed after their initial cast. A few of the specific methods include permanent, die, centrifugal, and continuous.

Centrifugal Casting: A type of non-expendable mold casting, centrifugal casting is gravity and pressure-independent. In this method, molten metal is poured into the cavity of a spinning chamber.

Continuous Casting: A non-expendable casting method, continuous casting is used for high-volume production of metal sections. In this technique, the cast shape is continuously withdrawn through the bottom of the mold so that the specific dimensions of the mold do not determine the length of the sculpture.

Die Casting: In this non-expendable casting method, molten metals are forced into steel molds, or dies.

Investment or Lost-Wax Casting: Investment casting, or the lost-wax process, is one of the oldest metal-forming methods. It is often an expensive process, but the intricate details and contours of the cast are well worth it. In this process, a wax original is enclosed in an outer mold. The wax is then melted and evacuated from the mold under high temperatures, and the resulting voids are filled with metal, producing the final sculpture.

Permanent Mold Casting: A form of non-expendable casting, permanent mold casting is typically used for iron, aluminum, magnesium, and copper-based alloys. It is highly automated and requires weeks of preparation before the casting begins.

Plaster Casting: Similar to sand casting, patterns are sprayed with a thin film to prevent the mold from sticking, and then covered in plaster, which fills the small spaces around the pattern. The form is then removed and filled with metals such as aluminum, zinc and copper.

Cast Plaster, Concrete, or Plastic Resin: Plaster or concrete can also be cast using single waste or multiple piece molds. The final product lacks the aesthetic quality that most metals acquire after casting. Therefore, plaster, plastic or concrete sculptures are typically painted to give the appearance of metal or stone.

Ceramic Shell Mold: This is a casting process which involves a sand and resin mold making mixture, which takes weeks to produce a final sculpture. There are at least a dozen stages in the shell mold process.

Sand Casting: Sand casting is typically used for low-temperature metals such as iron, copper, aluminum, magnesium and nickel alloys. In this method, materials are poured into a mold of compacted sand. Sand cast sculpture is easily identified by its textured surface, and lack of delicacy.

Waste Mold: In this expendable plaster mold casting method, a thin plaster mold is cast over an original clay model. When removed from the clay, the details of the clay are destroyed, but captured in the mold. This mold can then be used to cast metals with a low melting temperature, such as pewter, or water based casting compounds, such as plaster.

Ceramic: This term refers to clay objects fired at a high temperature, in a kiln, creating a ceramic form. While some ceramic pieces are classified as fine art, others are considered decorative, industrial or applied arts.

Copper: Copper is a reddish-brown metal. Copper surfaces are often finished with patina which can range from brown to green.

Decoupage: Decoupage refers to a type of collage made from cutting patterns out of paper or other materials and affixing them upon a three-dimensional object. Typically the surface is then varnished for preservation purposes.

Found Object Sculpture: Found object sculpture incorporates natural and/or man-made objects that are not typically considered art in and of themselves, but when combined by an artist, the result acquires aesthetic value.

Iron: Iron is a heavy, ductile, and magnetic metal which is often used in sculpture.

Mixed Media Sculpture: A mixed media sculpture employs multiple media to create a final piece. For example, the artist might have utilized both wood and metal to create the final product.

Other Cast Metals: Other cast metals refer to a variety of unknown materials used for creating cast sculptures.

Other Synthetic Metals: Other synthetic metals refer to a variety of synthetic materials used to create sculptures.

Plaster: Plaster is a dry powdery medium which, when mixed with water, forms a hardened paste. In the visual arts, it is most often used to cast clay models for sculpture.

Steel: Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon used in sculpture and architecture.

Stone: Stone is a hard medium composed of aggregate minerals such as marble, limestone or sandstone, used to produce three-dimensional objects. For the most part, sculptors use a hammer and chisel as the basic tools in the carving of stone.

Wood: Wood is the fibrous surface harvested from the trunks of trees. It can come in a variety of colors and patterns with unique attributes contributing to its aesthetic quality.


Works on Paper: Works on Paper include artworks drawn, painted or otherwise created on paper using a variety of media.

Acrylic: Water-based plastic paint consisting of pigments bound in an acrylic resin mixture. Can be thinned with water while wet, but become tough and water resistant once dry.

Charcoal: Charcoal refers to the drawing utensil employed by artists as a medium for sketches, finished works, and under-drawings for paintings. The black and crumbly nature of charcoal produces a freer and less dense line than graphite.

Collage: The word collage derives from the French, coller, which means to glue. Here a work of art is created by clipping and adhering flat articles, such as photographs, newspaper and fabric, to a two-dimensional surface.

Colored Pencil: Colored pencils are hand-held writing or drawing instruments typically used to create designs on paper.

Crayon: Crayons are sticks of colored wax used for writing and drawing.

Gouache: Gouache is a painting medium similar to watercolor that is characterized by pigments suspended in water. However, due to the presence of chalk, gouache produces a heavier and more opaque image than a watercolor.

Graphite: Graphite is a medium known for its greasy texture and metallic gray color which can be easily removed with an eraser.

Ink / Wash: Ink is a liquid medium composed of a variety of pigments and dyes used to color a surface. It is often used for drawing or writing with a pen or brush. Thicker inks are used in letterpresses and lithographic printing.

Mixed Media Work on Paper: A mixed media work on paper employs multiple media to create a final piece.

Oil Paint: This term refers to the technique developed during the 15th and 16th centuries in which slow drying paint is made by mixing color pigments with an oil base.

Pastel: Pastels are sticks of color, typically made from oil or chalk. Artists use pastels to create a soft and delicate image. The medium can often be unforgiving, as it is difficult for the artist to fix a mistake.

Chalk pastels: Soft chalk pastels are brightly colored, easily blended, and the most widely used form of pastel.

Oil pastels: Oil pastels have similar characteristics to chalk, or soft, pastels. However, they are difficult to blend and have a more buttery consistency.

Tempera: Tempera is a medium that was prevalent in Orthodox paintings of Southern Europe's Middle Ages. The artist combines egg yolk, egg whites, and oil to bind a range of pigments on a rigid support such as wood paneling.

Watercolor: Watercolor painting is characterized by colorful pigments dissolved in water producing a translucent image.


Style: Style refers to both unique visual elements or techniques that characterize an individual artist's work, as well as the particular movement or school of which the artist is associated.

19th C. European and British (1800-1900): all media. 19th Century European and British art consists of various artistic movements in Europe including Rococo, Classicism, Revolutionary art, Spanish art, Romanticism, the Barbizon School, Realism, Orientalism, Idealism, Victorian, Impressionism, Neo-Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Naturalism, Art Nouveau and Symbolism. The 19th century was a time of changing ideas revolving around the purpose of art, the appropriate choice of subject matter, the attitude between the artist and the public, the artist's relationship with nature and new technology's influence on art.

19th C. / Early 20th C. American (1800-1900): all media. 19th Century American art consists of various artistic movements in America including Rococo, Classicism, Revolutionary art, Romanticism, Realism, Idealism, Impressionism, Neo-impressionism, Post Impressionism, Naturalism, Art Nouveau and Symbolism.

Abstract Art (1900-1950): all media. Any form of art that does not represent reality convincingly, but instead distorts it. In this movement, artists began with a known visible object and abstracted it to produce a more simplified form. Pioneers of the Abstract Art movement include Kandinsky, Malevich and Mondrian.

Abstract Expressionism (1940-1960): all media. The Abstract Expressionists were based in New York City and were often referred to as the New York School. They were influenced by the ideas of Surrealism and aimed to make abstract art that also possessed expressive and emotional qualities.

Academic art (18th century): painting, works on paper, prints and sculpture. This term refers to art created according to the official academies of traditional painting and sculpture which flourished in Europe from the 17th to the 19th centuries.

Action Painting (1945-1960s): painting, works on paper. Closely associated with abstract expressionism, action painting focused on the spontaneity of applying paint to the canvas. Instead of focusing on the final image, this style of painting was much more interested in the act of painting itself. Jackson Pollock is one of the most well known action painters.

Aesthetic Movement (1870s-1880s): painting, prints, works on paper. This movement emphasized the beauty of all objects for everyone to take pleasure in, not just the elite.

African American Artists: all media. An African-American artist, is an artist who is American born, but whose ancestors were of African descent.  Their art during the 18th and 19th centuries reflected early African artistic traditions, but progressed and merged with western fine art styles during the 20th century.

American Impressionism (1890s-1920s): painting, prints, works on paper. Not only did Impressionism flourish in Europe, but it also influenced American artists. They employed the same techniques and subject matter. Notable American impressionists include William Morris Hunt, John La Farge, Joseph Foxcroft Cole, George Inness, Alexander Wyant, and Dennis Miller Bunker.

American Regionalism (c. 1930s): painting, prints, works on paper. This movement was primarily composed of Midwestern rural artists who appeared around the 1930s.

Ancient Art & Antiquities: paintings, prints, works on paper, sculpture. Ancient Art and Antiquities refers to art from the beginning of civilization through the Dark Ages, ranging from Western Europe to the Caspian Sea including the cultures of Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Near East.

Antebellum Era (1820-1850): painting, prints, works on paper. This movement refers to American art created before and leading up to the Civil War.

Art Brut (c. 1950): painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture. Invented by Jean Dubuffet, Art Brut was created as "raw" art by individuals who existed completely outside of society and the world of art schools, galleries and museums.

Art Deco (1920-1939): all media. This term refers to the movement characterized by the use of bold materials, patterns and designs. Art Deco took characteristics from many previous movements and influenced a wide variety of media.

Art Nouveau (1880-1914): painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture. This movement pervaded a variety of mediums, but was most prominent in architecture and design. Distinctive by an organic, asymmetrical, decorative style, Art Nouveau can be characterized by flowing lines, shapes and forms.

Arte Povera (1960s-1970s): painting, works on paper, sculpture. This term refers to the Italian art movement in which artists worked outside of the traditional art-making mediums. Instead, they used materials which could be acquired for free or very inexpensively. It literally means "poor art" but, in actuality, it does not denote an impoverished art, but an art made without boundaries.

Ashcan School (1910s): painting, works on paper. This movement is characterized by depicting scenes of daily life in poor neighborhoods. It became prominent in the early 20th century in the United States. Notable artists associated with this movement include Robert Henri, Arthur B. Davies, Maurice Prendergast, Ernest Lawson, William Glackens, Everett Shinn, John French Sloan, and George Luks.

Barbizon School (1830s-1870s): painting, prints, works on paper. The Barbizon School included a group of French painters who believed in realism in art as opposed to the Romantic Movement during the mid-19th century.

Baroque (1620-1715): painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture. In the visual arts, Baroque was a period dominated by exaggeration and detail. Artists such as Peter Paul Rubens, Caravaggio, and Cortona are known for their dramatic works associated with this movement.

Bauhaus (1919-1933): all media. This term refers to the art and architecture school in Germany that operated in the early 1900s, and had a profound influence on art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design and typography. The Bauhaus style, pioneered by modern architect Walter Gropius, became one of the most well-known currents in Modernist architecture.

Bay Area Figuration (1950s-present): painting. This mid-20th century movement embodied a group of artists from the San Francisco Bay Area who deserted Abstract Expressionism and instead turned to figuration in art.

BritArt (1992-present): all media. BritArt refers to the group of young artists based in the United Kingdom. They received their name from the Saatchi Gallery exhibitions starting in 1992 which originally brought them to fame.

Byzantine (867-1453): painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture. Byzantine refers to the art from the Eastern Roman Empire. The majority of these works have a religious context and are characterized by strong colors and figures.

California Style (1920s-1950s): painting, works on paper. This term refers to the artistic movement in California. Artists of the California style were impacted by earlier modern movements and adapted those influences into their own style.

Chinese Ming Dynasty (1368-1644): painting, prints, works on paper. This term refers to paintings, prints, and works on paper created at the time of the Chinese Ming Dynasty.

Chinese Qing Dynasty (1644-1911): painting, prints, works on paper. This term refers to paintings, prints, and works on paper created at the time of the Chinese Qing Dynasty.

Chinese Modern Period (1911-1945): painting, prints, works on paper. This term refers to paintings, prints, and works on paper created at the time of the Chinese Modern Period.

Chinoiserie: painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture. A term which refers to the western interpretations of Chinese fine and decorative, art in a variety of media.

Civil War/Reconstruction (1850-1877): painting, prints, works on paper. This movement refers to the group of artists who depicted the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods in their work. Notable artists include Conrad Wise Chapman, Winslow Homer, James Hope, Thomas Nast, and William Aiken Walker.

COBRA (1948-1951): painting, works on paper. This term refers to the European avant-garde movement active from 1948-1951. The name was created from the initials of the members’ home cities of Copenhagen (Co), Brussels (Br), and Amsterdam (A). They had an expressive style which focused on social and political issues.

Colonial Period (1600-1763): painting, prints, works on paper. Art during the Colonial Period in North America did not possess the high quality of other arts at this time. The 17th century painters were naive and unknown, but often created charming landscapes and portraits.

Color Field Painting (Late 1950s-1960s): painting. This term refers to an off-shoot style of Abstract Expressionism distinguished by areas of flat single colors. They differed from the Abstract Expressionists in that they eliminated the personal subject matter and gestural paint application associated with the previous movement. Some of the color field painters included Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and Clyfford Still.

Conceptual Art (1960s-1970s): all media. Conceptual art refers to art created primarily for the ideas and concepts involved instead of aesthetic pleasure.

Constructivism (1913-1930): all media. This term refers to the branch of abstract art founded in Russia. The constructivist members believed that art should directly reflect the industrial world. Therefore, the movement dismissed "pure" art in favor of art as an instrument for socialist society.

Contemporary (1945-Present): all media. Contemporary art, or works created post-World War II, is recognized as one of the most creative periods in art history. Media includes paintings, works on paper, photographs, sculptures, video & sound art and installation.

Contemporary Realism (1960s):
painting, photography, prints, works on paper. This term refers to the post-abstract movement which focused on a straightforward and realistic approach to art. Notable artists of this period include William Bailey, Neil Welliver and Philip Pearlstein.

Cubism (1908-1920): all media. This term refers to the movement dominated by the geometric reconstruction of object utilizing flat surfaces and blocks of color. It was one of the most popular movements of the 20th century founded by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in 1907. The birth of Cubism was influenced by the later works of Cezanne.

Dada (1916-1924): all media. This term refers to the cultural movement that began in Switzerland during World War I. Encompassing all of the arts and concentrating on anti-war statements, the Dada movement aimed to destroy the traditional values in art. Its leading artists included Duchamp, Picabia and Schwitters, and it formed the base for Surrealism.

Der Blaue Reiter (1911-1914): painting, works on paper. This term refers to the movement organized by Vasily Kandinsky in Munich, Germany. Der Blaue Reiter, "The Blue Rider," consisted of a group of nine artists who shared an interest in the power of color.

Die Brucke (1905-1913): painting, prints, works on paper. This term refers to the German Expressionist counterpart of Fauvism. Die Brucke artists believed in the bridge between modernity and barbarism and depicted this irony with bright, raw colors.

Dutch School (1600-1670): painting, prints, works on paper. Artists of the Dutch School focused on portraying their national pride through genre scenes, portraits, still life, landscapes, townscapes, and seascapes. Unlike the other movements of the 17th century, the Dutch school artists had more freedom and flexibility in what they created.

Early Republic (1790-1820):
painting, prints, works on paper. This term refers to art created during the Early Republic in North America. The majority of these works were landscapes and genre scenes.

Ecole de Paris (1910-1950): painting, prints, sculpture, works on paper. The Ecole de Paris was a group unified in their rebelliousness against academism. Unlike the majority of schools at the time, they did not adhere to a specific style and technique.

Earthworks / Land Art (1960s-1980s): sculpture and installation. In the late 1960s and 1970s, sculptors began to take art back to nature. They worked outdoors using what they found to fashion earthworks and land art. Leading artists in the Land Art movement include Robert Smithson, Richard Long, Michael Heizer and Dennis Oppenheim.

Emerging Artists: all media. Emerging artists are young artists with specialized training in his or her field. They are at an early stage in his or her career with a modest independent body of work, but lack the exposure of an artist with a more mature career.

Expressionism (1905-1925): all media. This term refers to the movement which manipulates the visual elements of an image to convey intense subjective feelings. In expressionist art, color is highly intense, brushwork is free and application of paint is heavy and textured.
Fashion Photography: photography. This term refers to the genre of photography entirely devoted to recording clothing and other fashion objects.

Fauvism (1905-1908): painting. This term refers to the movement identified by its high energy and brilliant colors which conveyed an intense visual experience. Originating in France, around 1905, Henri Mattise and his followers combined bold primary colors with dynamic brushwork, winning the label of Fauves, or "Wild Beasts." Fauvism is often seen as a combination of the Post-Impressionism of Van Gogh and the Neo-Impressionism of Seurat.

Fluxus (1960s): all media. Fluxus, literally meaning “to flow,” refers to the movement during the 1960s which combined a variety of techniques and media in the visual arts, music, literature, and design.

Folk Art: painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture.Folk art refers to regional handicrafts, ornamental works and fine art produced by people with no formal art training.
Found Object: sculpture, installation. This term refers to objects found by an artist in his or her environment and presented as a work of art completely unaltered or combined and/or modified to create a final piece.

Futurism (1909-1918): all media. This term refers to the Italian movement influenced by Cubism in the early 1900s. Futurism attacked everything that was old and promoted the modern world of industry and technology. The leading artists of this movement included Balla, Boccioni and Severini.

Geometric Abstract Art (20th Century): all media. Geometric Abstract Art refers to the form of abstract art based on the use of simple geometric forms. Kandinsky was the forerunner of this non-objective painting style. Other followers include Kasimir, Malevish, and Piet Mondrian.

German Expressionism (Early 20th century): painting, prints, works on paper. German Expressionism encompasses the Die Brucke and Der Blaue Reiter movements in Germany.

Gilded Age (1877-1900): painting, prints, works on paper. The Gilded Age took place during the post-Civil War and post-Reconstruction eras in the United States. During this period, Americans saw extraordinary growth. Artists such as John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam, Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Albert Pinkham Ryder created some of the most celebrated works of this time.

Gothic (1100-1600): painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture. Gothic art refers to the medieval movement found in a variety of mediums ranging from architecture, sculpture, panel painting, stained glass and manuscripts. Often, gothic works told both Christian and secular narratives through imagery.

Graffiti (1980s-present): painting, works on paper. This term refers to the movement founded during the 1980s where graffiti art, or images and letters usually spray-painted on property, became an art form worthy of display in galleries and exhibitions.

Hard-edge Painting (Late 1950s): painting. Hard-edge painting refers to the movement consisting of rough, straight edges that were geometrically consistent. It is characterized by rich solid colors, neat surfaces and a collection of multiple forms on the canvas. It is often associated with Geometric Abstraction, Post-Painterly Abstraction and Color Field Painting.

Harlem Renaissance (1920s-1930s): all media. The Harlem Renaissance was a time of flourishing art, literature and drama during the 1920s and 1930s, in which African American novelists, poets and painters produced works focusing on their own culture instead of European and white American society. While the movement was centered in Harlem, New York City, it affected many urban centers throughout the United States.

Hudson River School (1825-1875): painting, prints, works on paper. This term refers to a group of American painters during the mid-19th century who demonstrated a common belief and outlook on life. Their inspiration was rooted in aesthetics and romanticism as seen through their depiction of landscapes in the Hudson River Valley, Catskill Mountains, Adirondack Mountains and White Mountains of New York and New England.

Impressionism (1874-1876): paintings, prints, works on paper, sculpture. Impressionism is the term applied to an art movement in France during the late 19th century that focused on landscapes and scenes of everyday life. The movement was very anti-academic in style, and often disobeyed the traditional rules of the Salon. It can be identified by their treatment of light, color, and brushwork. Leading artists of this movement included Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Degas and Manet, among others.

Indian and Southeast Asian Mughal Period (16th-19th centuries): painting, works on paper. This term refers to paintings and works on paper created during the Mughal Period in India and Southeast Asia.

Indian and Southeast Asian Rajput Painting (16th century): painting, works on paper. This term refers to paintings and works on paper created during the Rajput Period in India and Southeast Asia.

Islamic Art: all media. Islamic art includes arts produced from the 7th century to present time by people who have lived in territories inhabited by culturally Islamic populations. It encompasses a variety of media including architecture, calligraphy, painting, ceramics, metalwork, woodwork, glass and jewelry from all over the Islamic world.

Japanese Muromachi Period (1392-1568): painting, prints, works on paper. This term refers to paintings, prints, and works on paper created during the Japanese Muromachi Period.

Japanese Momoyama Period (1568-1603): painting, prints, works on paper. This term refers to paintings, prints, and works on paper created during the Japanese Momoyama Period.

Japanese Edo Period (1603-1868): painting, prints, works on paper. This term refers to paintings, prints, and works on paper created during the Japanese Edo Period.

Japanese Meiji Period (1868-1945):
painting, prints, works on paper. This term refers to paintings, prints, and works on paper created during the Japanese Meiji Period.

Kinetic Art (1960s): sculpture. Kinetic art refers to artworks that contain parts that can be moved by hand, air or motion. Artists known for kinetic art include Naum Gabo and Alexander Calder.

Latin-American Artists: all media. Latin-American art covers nearly 500 years of artwork ranging from the Colonial period through the 21st century. Some prominent Latin-American artists include Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Matta, Wifredo Lam, Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, Fernando Botero, Claudio Bravo, Joaquin Torres-Garcia and Rufino Tamayo.

Les Nabis (1891-1899): painting, prints, works on paper. This term refers to the group formed as an offshoot of Symbolism. The artists saw themselves as initiators of art as found in the soul of the artist. They believed that a painting should be balanced and, as a result, single colors and patterns were separated by strong contours. Members of this movement included Paul Serusier, Pierre Bonnard, and Edouard Vuillard.

Lyrical Abstraction (1960s-1970s): painting. After World War II, artists in Europe believed that it was their duty to develop a new concept of humankind. This distinctive approach to painting became known as Lyrical Abstraction, or "art informel," and returned to the origins of art expressed through a simplistic manner.

Magic Realism (1943-1950s): painting. This term refers to the genre in which artists depicted extreme realism in the most ordinary subject matter. Also, magic realism is often associated with the post-expressionist movement.

Mannerism (1520-1600): painting, prints, works on paper. Mannerism refers to the style developed during the 16th century, characterized by its focus on space and light, dramatic use of color and distorted space and perspective. It began around the end of the High Renaissance and lasted until the arrival of Baroque in 1600.

Medieval (476-1453): painting, works on paper, sculpture. Medieval art covers over 1000 years of art history through Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. It covered a variety of media and included many major art movements such as Early Christian Art, Celtic Art, Pre-Romanesque art and Carolingian art, among others.

Metaphysical (1917-1920): painting, works on paper. Metaphysical refers to the art movement created by Italian artists Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carra. Painters focused on a realist approach to dream-like views of Italian cityscapes. It also helped paved the way for the development of Dada and Surrealism.

Militaria: painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture. Militaria refers to artifacts or replicas of military items which are collected for their historical significance such as helmets, uniforms, armour, coins or awards.

Military Art:
all media.  This term refers to art documenting military scenes.

Minimalism (1960s-1970s): painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture. This term refers to the simplicity found in the use of basic shapes to create an image of great beauty. Minimalism was mostly three-dimensional, but Frank Stella’s paintings were a hallmark of this movement. Other important minimalists include Andre, Flavin, Judd, Lewitt, Morris and Serra.

Modern (1880-1945): all media. The term modernism generally refers to new forms of art that are more appropriate to the present time. Modern art has been identified as the succession of art movements by critics since Realism and culminating in abstract art up to 1945. By that time, modernism had become a dominant idea of art and the modernist viewpoint was theorized by the American art critic Clement Greenberg.

Mono-Ha (1960s-1970s):
sculpture. Mono-ha refers to the Japanese group of artists working in the 1960s and 1970s, who used both natural and man-made materials in their work. They are best known for actually rearranged materials to achieve a final product instead of creating works from scratch.

Native American: all media. Native American art covers a vast time period and a variety of media created by artists of Native American descent.

Naturalism (1870s-1890s):
painting, works on paper. Naturalism refers to the realistic portrayal of objects in a natural setting. Some of the best known Naturalist artworks were of beautiful landscapes created after the Renaissance.

Neo-Classicism (1750-1880): all media. This movement, founded as a reaction against the Baroque and Rococo styles of the early 18th century, desired to return to the purity of the ancient arts of the Roman and Grecian cultures.

Neo-Dada (1950s): all media. Neo-Dada refers to art work created during the 1950s resembling the original Dada movement in its methods. Neo-Dadaists used modern materials and popular imagery to deny the traditional and accepted ideas of aesthetics. Notable artists during this movement include Jasper Johns, Yves Klein, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, and Jim Dine. They also helped pave the way for the Pop Art and Fluxus movement.

Neo-Expressionism (Late 1970s-1980s): painting, prints, works on paper. This term refers to the revival of expressionism in the 1980s. Neo-Expressionism took place in many countries and cultures, but the leading artists in the United States were Philip Guston and Julian Schnabel.

Neo-Figurative Art (1960s): painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture. This term refers to the revival expressionist movement in the form of figurative art that emerged in the 1960s in Mexico.

Neo-Impressionism (1886-1906): painting, prints, works on paper. Neo-Impressionism refers to the late 19th century movement led by Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. Their works were innovative for their time and altered the use of color and line, compared to their Impressionist ancestors.

Neo-Romanticism (1880-1910):
painting, prints, works on paper. Neo-romanticism refers to the movement based on the revival of romanticism in art and literature.

Neue Sachlichkeit (1910s): painting, prints, works on paper. Neue Sachlichkeit, the German art movement, was formed out of defiance against expressionism. It ended with the rise of the Nazis and covered a wide variety of media including the visual arts, literature, music and architecture.

New Realism (1950-1960s): all media. This term refers to the movement founded by art critic Pierre Restany and painter Yves Klein which is often compared to the New York Pop Art movement for its critique of commercialized objects. Leading artists of this movement included Arman, Cesar, Christo, Tinguely and Daniel Spoerri.

Old Masters (14th to Early 19th Centuries): painting, prints, works on paper. Masterpieces by the most famous Western artists from the 14th to the early 19th centuries including Raphael, Cranach, Titian, Velazquez, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Hals, Reynolds, Canaletto, Gainsborough and Fragonard. Subject matter usually included still lifes, landscapes, genre paintings, portraits, religious and historical themes.

Op Art (Late 1950s-1960s): all media. Op Art contrasted its Abstract Expressionist ancestor by creating a nonobjective art based entirely upon patterns of lines and colors which affected the viewer’s perception. Leading artists of this movement included Bridget Riley, Jesus Raphael, Soto and Victor Vasarely.

Orientalism (1838-1890s): painting, prints, works on paper. Orientalism can be characterized by work influenced by the artistic styles and motifs of the Far East.
Outsider Art: all media. Outsider art refers to art created outside the boundaries of traditional culture. Broadly, it includes folk and primitive art as well as works created by the mentally ill, disturbed individuals or prisoners.

Photojournalism / Documentary: photography. Photojournalism refers to the use of the photography to tell a story. Often, photojournalists are in the presence of war, rioting or other risks while documenting events.

Photo-Realism (1960-1970): painting. This phrase refers to the genre of painting which resembles photography. It became a dominant movement during the late 1960s and 1970s.

Photo-Secession (1902-1917):
photography. To raise the standards of photography as an art form, a group of photographers started the Photo-Secession movement led by Alfred Stieglitz. The members of this group believed in showing a pure image, ultimately leaving the photographs unaltered with the exception of cropping.

Pop Art (Late 1950s-1960s): all media. This term refers to the art movement which took its style and subject matter from popular culture. Its sources were movies, television, comic books and advertisements. Pop art is epitomized in the works of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg.

Portraiture: paintings, photography, works on paper, sculpture. Any work representing a person.

Post-Impressionism (1880-1900): painting, prints, works on paper. This term refers to the movement branching off of Impressionism in 1910. Post-Impressionist artists came to reject Impressionism's emphasis on the strong depiction of light and color and instead developed more abstract styles. Artists such as Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac were highly influential post-impressionists who paved the way for many of the early 20th century’s modern painters.

Post-Minimalism (Late 1960s): all media. This term refers to a varied approach to Minimalism which challenged the idea of art as static and durable. Eva Hesse is known for her malleable enabling the pieces to take on different dimensions.

Postmodern: all media. The postmodern art movement was formed as a contradiction to typical modernism. It encompassed movements such as Installation art, Conceptual Art and Multimedia. It also branched out into diverse and unknown media such as bricolage, collage, simplification, depictions of popular culture and performance art.

Post-War European Figuration (Post World War II): painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture. Postwar European Figuration included artists such as Francis Bacon, Jean Dubuffet, Alberto Giacometti, Rene Iche, Marino Marini and Henry Moore.

Pre-Raphaelite (1848-1860s): painting, prints, works on paper. Considered to be one of the first avant-garde movements in art, the Pre-Raphaelites sought to reject the traditional and academic styles of Raphael and Michelangelo. Some notable Pre-Raphaelite artists include James Collison, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Primitivism: painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture. Many modern European artists became fascinated with the tribal arts from Africa, the South Pacific, Indonesia and early European folk art.  These artists were interested in primitive art as a way to search for a simpler and more basic way of life, differing from that of the west.  Notable artists such as Picasso and Gauguin, as well as artists in the Expressionist movements, were prominent in this movement.

Propaganda: painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture.  Propaganda, or political art, refers to artworks created for the purpose of political awareness often focusing on themes relating to socialism, World War I, and World War II.

Purism (c. 1918): painting, works on paper. Purism refers to the art movement established around 1918 in France by Amedee Ozenfant and Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, who believed in the power of art to change the world.

Rayism (1909-1913): painting, works on paper. Rayism refers to the abstract style of painting developed by the Russian artist Mikhail Larionov.

Realism (Mid-19th Century): painting, prints, sculpture, works on paper. This term refers to a group of painters in France, known as the Barbizon School, who pioneered a naturalist philosophy that art should reflect ordinary life. Images of peaceful and contented country life grew out of this movement. However, the defining moment for Realism came after the Revolution of 1848 in France when artists such as Gustave Courbet and Honore Daumier turned their attention to the working-class and poor.

Renaissance (1400-1600): painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture. The Renaissance was a time of rebirth spanning from the 15th through the 17th century. In the visual arts, it was best known for its development of linear perspective as seen through the works of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.

Rococo (1715-1754): painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture. Rococo refers to the style of 18th century France characterized by elegant and ornate furniture, sculptures, mirrors, tapestries, paintings and prints.

Romanesque (1000-1200): painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture. Romanesque refers to the art of Western Europe beginning 1000 and lasting for nearly 200 years. This style is characterized by its return to Roman construction techniques, not necessarily a revival of all Roman ideas. The Northern European and Byzantine styles were also highly influential in the Romanesque movement.

Romanticism (Late 18th- Mid-19th century): paintings, prints, sculpture, works on paper. This term refers to the movement beginning in 1830 featuring loose, fluid brushstrokes, strong colors, complex compositions, dramatic contrasts of light and dark and expressive gestures. Artists often drew upon literary sources and social criticism for their subject matter. Romanticism later became identified with social commentary which was intended to stir public emotions especially in the works of Theodore Gericault and Eugene Delacroix.

Russian-Avant Garde (1890-1930): all media. This term refers to the wave of modern art that flourished in Russia from 1890-1930. It encompassed a variety of movements including Symbolism, Neo-Primitivism, Suprematism, Constructivism and Futurism.

Scottish Colourists (1920-1930s): paintings. This term refers to the group of Scottish painters whose work was highly regarded in the 1920s and 1930s.

Socrealism / Socialist Realism (1930-1980):
painting, works on paper. Socrealism refers to the new role of literature and art in the Soviet society. The purpose of these works was to educate the population on the importance of socialism.

Southwest Art: painting, prints, works on paper, sculpture. This term refers to the group of artists from the Southwestern area of the United States.

Soviet Art (1917-1932): all media. This term refers to visual art produced in the former Soviet Union. The movement was led by Kazimir Malevich, initiated to put all arts in the service of the dictatorship and strived to eliminate the conventions of bourgeois art. However, it still held on to many decadent bourgeois art forms such as impressionism and cubism.

Soviet Impressionism (1930-1980): painting, prints, works on paper. Soviet Impressionism began in the late 19th century when artists executed impressionistic techniques in defiance to Petersburg academism. It was similar to European impressionism in that their works remained colorful and dynamic.

Spatialism (ca. 1946): all media. Spatialism refers to the art movement founded by Lucio Fontana in New York City around the time of Abstract Expressionism. It combined ideas from Dada, Tachism and Concrete Art. One of the most notable works of the Spatialism period was Fontana’s slashed canvases.

Surrealism (1924-1940s): all media. This term refers to the movement founded by French writer Andre Breton. The aim of the surrealists was to discover the larger reality, or "surreality," that lay beyond tradition. Artists such as Dali and Magritte were known for their surrealist paintings dominated by biomorphic forms.

Symbolism (1860s-1890s): painting, prints, works on paper. This movement refers to the late 19th-century movement in literature and art which focused on the world of ideas. The symbolists believed that art was the highest form of expression and knowledge. The movement rejected materialism and realism, emphasizing spirituality and imagination. Artists associated with this movement include Paul Gaugin, Gustave Moreau and Odilon Redon.

Tonalism (1880s-1900s):
painting, prints, works on paper. Tonalism refers to the movement beginning in the 1880s, where artists painted landscapes with a tone of mist or atmosphere. George Inness and James McNeill Whistler were two of the well known tonal artists whose compositions featured dark, neutral colors such as gray, brown and blue.

Vintage Print: photography. Vintage photographs are typically printed by the photographer at the same time as the negative.  A vintage print is usually higher in value than photographs printed later from the same negative.

Western Art:
all media. Western art refers to all art depicting American Western life, such as cowboys, rodeos or country scenes.

WPA Artists (1935-1943): all media. WPA stands for the Works Progress Administration, a government funded arts program with a section for artists. The artists in this group encompassed a wide variety of styles from figurative to academic to abstraction, and included almost every type of media. Artists included Milton Avery, Stuart Davis, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. The WPA was prominent until it was disbanded in the mid-1940s.


Academy: This term refers to the institutional school established for the classical training of artists during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Acanthus: This term refers to a type of decorative element found in architecture derived from the acanthus leaves found in the Mediterranean.

Aesthetics: The word aesthetic or aesthetics refers to the philosophy of visual beauty.

Allegory: An allegory is an image that illustrates a particular concept, idea or story within a work of art.

Alloy: An alloy is a mixture of metals without any chemical combination.

Applied art: Applied art refers art designed for functional purposes, but also maintains aesthetic attributes. It could also be called "decorative art" or "design."

Art for Art’s Sake: This phrase describes the type of art created for no moral or social reasons, but purely for aesthetic pleasure.

Artist's Proof: In an edition, the artist's proof typically refers to the first print pulled by the artist, taken to see the current state of the plate during the production process.

Avant-garde: This phrase signifies artists and concepts that are remarkably new and radical in nature for the present time.

Background: Within the space of a work of art, the background is the area of the image farthest from the picture plane. The opposite of background is foreground.

Calligraphy: The art of highly ornamental handwriting.

Chiaroscuro: This term refers to the strong contrast between light and dark that gives a work a sense of drama or mystery.

Cloisonne: A process involving the affixing wires to a metal surface to form a design, and then filling those areas with different colored enamels.

Complementary Color: Complementary colors are the primary and secondary colors opposite each other on the color wheel. For example, red and green, blue and orange, and yellow and purple are all complementary colors.

Contour: This term refers to the outline defining a specific form.

Contrapposto: This phrase refers to a specific stance where the human body has a weight shift borne on one leg.

Deckle Edge: Deckle edges are irregular and ragged edges on hand-made paper.

Emulsion: Emulsion is the mixture of two liquids.

Enamel: Enamel is colored glass bonded to a metal surface by firing.

En grisaille: En grisaille denotes an entirely gray monochromatic composition.

Figure drawing: Figure drawing is a type of drawing that depicts the human form.

Figure painting: Figure painting is a type of painting that depicts the human form.

Figure-ground relationship: This phrase refers to the way objects and figures are related within the picture plane.

Focal point: The focal point of an image is the area in a composition to which the eye returns most naturally.

Folio: This term refers to a large sheet of paper that becomes four separate pieces of a book when folded and cut.

Foreground: The foreground is the area that is closest to the picture plane in a two-dimensional work of art.

Foreshortening: According to the rules of perspective, foreshortening is an illusion created on a two-dimensional surface where objects seem to recede or project into space.

Formalism: Formalism is the analysis and writing of artistic form and the use of formal elements rather than content.

Formline: This term refers specifically to Native American art where a line defines a specific space or form.

Frontispiece: This term refers to an illustration directly opposite or preceding the title page of a book.

Frieze: A frieze is the middle element of an entablature between the architrave and the cornice. The frieze is typically decorated with sculpture, painting or moldings.

Genre: Genre refers to a type or category of artistic form, subject, technique, style or medium.

Genre Scene: A genre scene can be found in paintings, prints or works on paper, and depicts scenes from everyday life, domestic interiors, parties, inn scenes and street scenes.

Gesso: Gesso is made from glue, gypsum and/or chalk forming the ground layer of wood paneling or the priming layer of canvas.

Gesturalism: This very expressive type of painting is identifiable because each line signifies the artist's physical gesture and emotion at the moment the paint was applied to the painting’s surface.

Gilding: Gilding is the application of gold leaf or gold pigment for decorative purposes.

Glazing: Glazing refers to the outermost layer found on ceramics that protect them from water and give them a decorative quality.

Gold Leaf: Gold leaf is paper thin, hammered gold that is used for gilding, as a surface treatment.

Ground line: Ground line is the baseline that denotes the plane in which a figure stands in a work of art.

High relief: High relief is a type of sculpture in which the design is carved deeply enough suggesting that the parts are detached from the background.

History/historical Painting: A historical painting is directly based on historical, mythological or biblical references. It is considered one of the noblest forms of art and conveys an intellectual idea in an extravagant manner.

Hue: Hue refers to pure color.

Icon: Icons are any material representation of a sacred figure or event.

Iconoclasm: This term refers to the banning or destruction of icons and religious art.

Iconography: This term refers to the study and interpretation of the subject matter of art.

Impasto: Impasto is the heavy application of paint to a surface so that it stands out in relief.

Incising: Incising is a technique in which a design is cut into a hard surface using a sharp tool.

Inlay: Inlay refers to the process of setting materials into the surface of an object composed of a different material.

Installation: This term refers to a type of mixed media artwork which typically occupies a large portion, an entire room, or gallery space.

Japonisme: This term refers to the influence of Japan on European art, especially during the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist movements.

Kiln: A kiln is an oven which heats to exceptionally high temperatures, typically used for the firing of clay and casting of glass.

Low relief: Low relief is a type of sculpture in which the figures project less than half their true depth from the background.

Mannerist: Mannerist art can be identified by elongated forms, unusual colors and lighting, and irrational spatial relationships.

Miniature: A miniature is a detailed painting or drawing completed on a very small scale.

Monochrome/Monochromatic: Monochrome or monochromatic refers to any work done in gradations of a single color.

Monolith: A monolith is a sculpture or piece of architecture created from a single block of stone.

Montage: This term refers to a design created by overlapping materials creating the final image.

Mosaic: A mosaic is a design created by affixing small pieces of color, or tesserae, made of marble, glass or ceramic to a base.

Motif: This term refers to the subject of a painting or a distinct element found in a work of art.

Mural: A mural is any type of painting created directly on a wall surface.

Narrative: Narrative refers to a story which is told through a work of art.

Naturalism: Naturalism refers to the tendency to depict trivial aspects of ordinary life during the 19th century throughout Europe.

Non-objective: Non-objective works of art contain no representation of figures or objects.

Original: This term refers to a work of art created by the artist, as opposed to a print, which was created in multiples, or a copy by another artist or school.

Oeuvre: This term refers to the total output of works by a given artist.

Painterly: Painterly refers to works characterized by large brushwork and patches of color.

Palette: Palette refers to the specific range of color chosen by the artist in a particular work.

Perspective: This term refers to the system of representing objects in three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface.

Picture Plane: This phrase denotes the spatial plane corresponding to the actual surface of the painting.

Pigment: A pigment is the coloring agent in paint or dye.

Plein air: When a work is created plein air, it means it has been painted outdoors.

Pointillism: In painting, pointillism is the systematic use of small dots to create an optical illusion.

Porcelain: Porcelain is a hard, translucent, white ceramic fired at high temperatures.

Portrait format: This phrase refers to a work of art that is higher than it is wide.

Posthumous: A posthumous print was created after an artist's death.

Pottery: Pottery includes all wares made of clay except porcelain.

Primary Colors: The primary colors, blue, red and yellow, are the colors from which all others are derived. Primary colors also cannot be broken down into other colors.

Recto: Recto refers to the front of a single sheet of paper.

Reduction: A reduction is a copy of a work on a smaller scale.

Relief: A relief is a kind of sculpture in which all or part of the material projects from a flat surface.

Repousse: Repousse is a type of design created by metal hammering on the back of a work.

Representational: This term refers to art which reflects reality.

Salon: A salon denotes an independent group exhibition, and is a term specific to France.

Scale: Scale refers to the size or measurement of a piece.

School: School refers to a group of artists working under a specific master or that possess certain qualities pertaining to a particular artist.

Sfumato: Sfumato is the haze of an image within a painting.

Silhouette: A silhouette is any profile portrait cut from black paper or painted in solid black.

Sketch: A sketch is a rough preliminary version of a composition.

Still Life: This term refers to a depiction of a static group of objects.

Tenebrism: Tenebrism is a technique that emphasizes the strong shadows and night effects.

Tesserae: Tesserae are small pieces of marble, glass or ceramics used to make a mosaic.

Vanishing Point: In perspective, the vanishing point is the point in which a set of lines converge.


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

Active Listing: This is the terminology used in reference to any lot which is currently up for auction, live on the artnet Online 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: An auction ID is a unique number that is automatically generated for an item, which goes live on the online auctions site, and 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 a Seller chooses this option.

Bid: A bid is a legally binding offer of a specific amount of money in exchange for an item which is up for auction on the artnet Online 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 Online 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: This term refers to 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 Online Auctions site.

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

Condition Report: A Condition Report is 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: A Demo is an online demonstration of a product or service to assist the user in a more thorough understanding of the product.

Estimate Range: The Estimate Range is a valuation of an item for sale within a range, low to high; an approximation of monetary value.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions; 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 Buyers' 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: Markings are any kind of notation done by the artist on a work of art.

Member Services Page: The Member Services page is an overview of artnets' services. It also provides users the ability to subscribe to products that they don't currently use and shows their current subscriptions.

Provenance: Provenance is defined as 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 a site, how the information will be used, how the person can access this data and the steps for having the data removed. It also includes information regarding systems that are in place to protect the information of website users.

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

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

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

Retract Bid: When a buyer wishes to withdraw their bid on a specific item, they 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: Search is a mechanism for the act of searching artnet Online 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 Seller is a user who is registered on the artnet Online Auctions site, and is permitted to exchange goods for money, as well as, purchase items from other Sellers.

Standard Auction: A standard auction is 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 starting price is 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 Unregistered User is an individual who uses the site to view auctions, but is not registered to either buy or sell.

Login Name: This is the private name for each seller or buyer that is not publicly displayed - this is the name they use to login to the site.

Watch List/Alerts: A Watch List/alert is where specific lots which a buyer has either bid on or tagged will remain.  Here, the buyer will be notified of any new changes in the bidding history.

Win / Won: This means that a Bidder made the high bid of an item for sale and also met the items reserve, if applicable.