Glossary of Terms:

What is a Lithograph?
In the graphic arts, lithography is a method of printing from a prepared flat stone, metal or plastic plate, invented in the late eighteenth century.  A drawing is made on the stone or plate with a greasy crayon (or tusche), and then washed with water.  When ink is applied it sticks to the greasy drawing but runs off (or is resisted by) the wet surface allowing a print - a lithograph - to be made of the drawing.  The artist, or other print maker under the artist's supervision, then covers the plate with a sheet of paper and runs both through a press under light pressure.  For color lithography, separate drawings are made for each color.


What is an Etching?
The technique of reproducing a design by coating a metal plate with wax and drawing with a sharp instrument called a stylus through the was down to the metal.  The plate s put in an acid bath, which eats away the incised lines; it is then heated to dissolve the wax and finally inked and printed on paper.  The resulting print is called an etching.


What is a Giclee?
The giclee, (pronounced "zcheeclay"), from the French "to spray."  This is a sophisticated digital method of creating great quality prints, using special water based inks often used as an output for digital art originals and limited edition prints.  The giclee process uses top of the line ink jet IRIS printers that can print millions of colors at very high resolution, and on various materials such as canvas, paper, linen.  This is a new and sophisticated technique.  finds developed for giclee have been tested, and proven effective for about 75 years.  The colors of giclee riots are very vivid and pure, and the artist has great control of the accuracy to the original.


What is a Serigraph (Silkscreen)?
The artist prepares a tightly stretched screen, usually of silk, and blocks out areas not to be printed by filling the mesh on the screen with a varnish-like substance.  Paper is placed under the screen, and ink is forced through the still-open mesh onto the paper by means of a squeegee.  A print made by this process involves the use of stencils.  Several stencils are used to produce a multi-colored print.  As a commercial medium, silkscreen printing has been used by many contemporary artists.  Serigraphs are usually hand-pulled, while silkscreen utilizes the latest automated printing technologies.


What is a Posthumous Etching?
An etching produced after the death of the artist.


What is an Offset Lithograph?
Offset printing, also called offset lithography, is a method of mass-production printing in which the images on metal plates are transferred (offset) to rubber blankets or rollers and then to the print media. The print media, usually paper, does not come into direct contact with the metal plates.


What is Bas-Relief?
A sculpture executed upon and attached to a flat surface. The usual impression produced by an artistic relief is that about one-half of the actual proportions of the object are being seen in their third dimension of depth. Strictly speaking, however, relief sculpture is subdivided into various kinds. In alto-rilievo (Italian for "high relief") the figures are sculptured partly or wholly in the round, that is, they project entirely, or almost entirely, from the surface of the block in which they are cut.  Basso-rilievo (Italian for low-relief; French, bas-relief) is a form of surface-ornamentation in which the projection is very slight. The finest known specimen of low relief is the frieze around the cella of the Parthenon; large portions of it are to be seen in the British Museum. The lowest kind of relief is that described by the Tuscan term rilievo-stíacciato (depressed or flattened relief). This scarcely rises from the surface upon which it is carved, and is mostly an art of fine lines and delicate indications. Donatello's Florentine Madonnas and saints are among the best examples. Finally cavo-rilievo (Italian for hollow relief; French, relief-en-creux) is a method of concave sculpture in which the highest part or outline is on a level with the surface, while the roundness is considerably below it. Cavo-rilievo was practiced chiefly by the Egyptians whose hollow reliefs are known by the Greek term Koilanaglyphs.  

Relief is the form of sculpture that comes nearest to painting, having both composition, perspective, and the play of light and shadow. Relief would seem to have much in common with drawing, though in reality less importance attaches to line than to the modeling of contour and to the true and effective rendering of chiaroscuro. The human form is undoubtedly the proper object of relief, which appears to be particularly suited to the representation of numerous figures in action. In the Greek and Roman classic reliefs these figures are usually in processional order, engaged in historic or military events, or in the ceremonial of worship.


What is a Limited Edition or L/E?
A pre-determined number of identical prints of an image are produced from a master pate, stone, or other methods, after which no more impressions are allowed.  The edition size is the sum of all numbered pieces and proofs.  The prints are then signed by the artist, and sometimes titled, and sequentially numbered showing both the print's number and the total edition size (i.e. 200/375).  Each print is referred to as a "limited edition print."  The original print plates are typically destroyed after the production is complete.


What is an Artist Proof (AP)?
Often numbered, these copies of a limited edition print are signed and typically titled "Artist Proof." –Artist proofs originally were the first copies printed and were used to indicate the artist’s approval of color reproduction and other mechanical aspects of the printing process. Once prized as best quality copies. Artist proofs now exist solely as part of the printmaking tradition and are of a quality similar to the standard edition print. Artist's proofs are distinguished by the abbreviation AP and are numbered separately; they often represent 10 percent of an edition and are slightly more expensive than prints in the regular edition.

Artist's Proof is one outside the regular edition, but printed at the same time or after the regular edition from the same plates without changes. By custom, the artist retains the A/Ps for his personal use or sale. Typically, 10% of the edition total is designated as A/P, or in the case of a small edition, five graphics are usually so designated.


What does PP mean?
Similar to artist’s proofs, printer’s proofs were originally designed to monitor the progress of printing, but are also the final impressions the printer keeps.  They are not included in the count of the edition, yet are in every other way identical to the numbered copies.


What does Hors de Commerce (HC) mean?
Hors de Commerce (Not for trade) traditionally were the graphics pulled with the regular edition but marked by the artist for business use only. These graphics were used for entering shows, exhibits, samples, etc. Today, however, since people began to acquire and collect them, these graphics now generally find their way to the market place through regular channels and are sold.   Print marking example: H/C 1/10


What is Acid Free?
This is a term often used regarding art and framing materials.  "Acid-free" is good.  Since most two dimensional art is created on paper, and since paper with a high acid level tends to turn brown and brittle after a few years, it is not good to have a high acid content for art papers or the matting and framing materials that are supposed to be protecting the art works from hostile elements of the environment.  "Acid-free" means that the material is supposedly pH neutral, and also that it will not become more acidic as it ages.


What does Atelier mean?
This is a French term for "printer's workshop."