This glossary of terms pertains to the art industry.  Within this glossary is an array of terms that apply particularly to the art publishing/framing business, which you may find very helpful in working with your clients.

ACID-FREE:  Materials that do not contain acids which can cause deterioration; textiles and paper art or other unframed pieces should be stored in acid-free materials.

AQUEOUS: Containing water or soluble in water; generally refers to paints and glues.

ARCHIVAL: Materials which may be stored in an archive; indicates relative permanence and ability to remain stable over time.

BEVEL: Cutting or shaping edge or end of a material to form an angle (not right angle), such as bevel cut on the window edge of a mat.

CATALOGUE RAISONNE: A catalogue which chronicles all known works of an artist, along with pertinent details on each work.

COATED PAPER: Paper treated with clay or other adhesive mixture to improve the finish for printing, color, smoothness or other surface properties; includes lacquered and varnished papers. 

COLLAGE:Artwork created by securing pieces of paper, fabric or other materials onto a substrate; basically two-dimensional, may have a sculptural effect.

COLOR WHEEL: Spectrum of colors in a circle: the three primary colors (red/yellow/blue) and the secondary colors (orange/green/purple); opposite colors are complementary colors.

CONSERVATION FRAMING: Materials and procedures that have no adverse effects on a piece of artwork and will protect it from external damage. 

COPYRIGHT:  Exclusive rights to the image of a work of art for publication, production, and/or sale of the rights to such work of and to provide protection from unauthorized reproduction.

CORNER SAMPLES: Short moulding lengths mitered/joined to form a corner; used as visual aids during framing design process; also referred to as chevrons.

CROPPING: Cutting away or deleting of a portion of the image.

DECKLE EDGE:  Uneven, feathered edge of a paper.

DIPTYCH: Set of two prints making one, complete image

EDITION: Total number of copies printed from the same plates or blocks and published about the same time.

EMBOSSED: Design in paper which is molded or shows relief.

FILLET: Small moulding (usually wood) with a profile that may be used as an edging on a mat or frame lip; profiles may differ; and also may be called a  "slip."

FLOATING: Means of securing artwork to a rigid support so all edges are visible.

FOAMBOARD: Rigid sheet of polystyrene foam with paper sheets bonded to each face.

FOXING: Reddish-brown spots appearing on the surface of paper and related to mold growth or metallic impurities in the paper; high humidity, light, and acid increase appearance of spots.

FRAME: Decorative or functional element which surrounds an item or image providing protection and display functions; typically made of wood, MDF, metal or composite resins; provides the architectural support element for a work of art. Stacked frames:  Frames and/or liners set within the exterior frame.

GENRE: Generally describes type, style, class or everyday life as depicted in artwork.

GICLÈE: A method of reproduction using state-of-the-art, ink-jet technology.  Giclée is French word for spraying (of ink).  The colors are sprayed on the paper, canvas, and other substrates in spurts of rich, vibrant, archival inks at a very high speed, which renders an amazingly-smooth and consistent image true to the original work of art….a superb, quality, fine art printing method.  This method of printing is highly-acclaimed for its quality by artists, galleries, museums, and art publishers.

GILDING:  Art of adhering thin metal, silver or gold leaf to a surface.

GLASSINE: Semi-transparent paper; smooth, non-abrasive surface for overlaying delicate artwork; will not adhere to varnish on oil paintings.

ISSUE PRICE: Retail price of a print at its publication date.

LACQUER: Protective coating of resin to produce a smooth, hard finish.

LINER: A frame moulding used within an outer moulding; serves as an accent between the image and the frame and usually more narrow in width; may be of wood, fabric-covered wood or other materials; inner mats and liners are also called liners.

MAT: A flat border usually made from mat board placed around a print, photograph, etc; serves as a spacer or separation between the image and the frame; mats may be stacked in multiples and colors.

MEDIUM: Specific tool and material used by an artist; mode of expression employed by an artist, e.g., painting sculpture, the graphic arts.

MOULDING: Wood, metal or composite material which has been refined and shaped, including a rabbet, for use in the framing industry as frame stock.

NON-GLARE GLASS: Etched on one or both sides, which defuses light resulting in minimum glare and fading.

ORIGINAL:  Unique piece of artwork that cannot be exactly duplicated such as oil painting on canvas.

PLAQUE: Small, metal plate (usually brass) mounted on a frame, usually showing the artist’s name and title of the artwork.

PRESS PROOFS: Trial proofs used to assure color correctness and balance.         

PRINT: Generic term to describe an image/impression made on paper or canvas. Prints and processes include:

ARTIST PROOF:  Abbreviation – A/P; additional proofs not included in the regular edition, pulled for artist’s approval and personal use; same quality as the regular edition and may be retained by the artist or sold.

BRUSHSTROKE:  Created by applying a gel directly to the canvas (after stretching) and paper once printed; in most instances, the gel is hand-painted onto the canvas to give the look and feel of the brushstrokes of an original painting; the gel dries hard, retaining the brushstrokes with all the peaks and valleys; it also protects the canvas from abrasion.

DIGITAL:  Printing from a digital-based image directly to a variety of media involving professional printing and other digital sources using large-format and/or high-volume laser, ink-jet printers; allows for on-demand printing, short turn-around time, and when desired, allows modification of the image.  The difference between digital and traditional methods, such as lithography, is there is no need to replace the printing plates.

FLOAT:   A means of securing artwork to a rigid support so all edges are visible; usually done when edges of paper are deckled or decorative, or if the image extends to the paper’s borders.

HAND-PULLED:  A method of hand-crafting multiples; for each print, the artisan first crafts a pattern that ensures the integrity of the multiples, often the most time-consuming part of creating an original print. Each print goes through all stages of the printing process one at a time; each is considered hand-made and an original.

LIMITED EDITION:  Identical prints of the same edition, numbered in sequence (or other marks) to denote limited production; stated maximum number of printed copies of impressions.

LITHOGRAPH:  Any print developed by a planographic process, such as an original  lithograph done on a lithographic stone, or a commercial print made by a photo-mechanical process.

MINT CONDITION: Describes a print that is as perfect as when it was originally issued or published.

NUMBERED:  Sequentially numbered; bearing a number corresponding to its position after the edition is printed and signed.

OPEN EDITION:  Produced from original art with an unlimited edition size; may or may not be signed by the artist.

REMARQUE: Method in which a small sketch is engraved in the margin of a printing plate, usually removed before final edition is printed; printing plate with such a mark.

SERIGRAPH: Printing using a hand-cut or photographically-prepared stencil attached to a silk or polyester fabric through color is forced; also known as a silkscreen.

SIGNED AND NUMBERED:  Artist’s signature appears on the print as well as a number, usually in the form of print number/number of prints in edition.

SIGNED-ONLY EDITION:  Signed by the artist only; not numbered and sometimes referred to as an open edition.

STAMP:  Limited edition print of a game stamp, e.g., duck stamp print.

TIME-LIMITED:  An edition where the size (quantity) is determined by the number of orders received prior to a specific date.

PROVENANCE: Record of previous ownerships and previous locations for a work of art.

RABBET: Notched portion on the inside of the frame; supports the framed item(s), i.e., glass, matting, mounting; usually 1/8” to 1/4” in depth.

ECONDARY MARKET   Describes the resale of a print after an edition has been sold out by the publisher and is no longer widely available.

SHRINK-WRAP       Clear, plastic film which shrinks when heated; used for wrapping paper prints and other objects.

STRETCHER BAR     Strip of wood joined to form a frame over which canvas is stretched.

STRETCHING (CANVAS): There are three different methods:

  • Standard wrap:   100% of the image on the front; staples visible on the sides; this method is usually framed to finish the canvas
  • Image wrap:    Image is stretched around the sides of the stretched frame; staples are on the back; image is taken to the back edge of the sides and is visible on the sides
  • Museum or gallery wrap:  100% of the image is visible on the front with the image to the edges;  staples are on the back; the sides of the canvas are usually painted black or with a color complementary to the artwork
  • Mirror wrap:  100% of the image is visible on the front with the image to the edges; staples are on the back; the sides of the canvas are painted with a reflection of the outside  2” perimeter of the image.

SUBSTRATE: Term from substratum meaning a layer lying under another. 

TRIPTYCH: Set of three prints or paintings making one, complete image

UNITED INCH: In framing, combined inches of one length and one width of a frame, e.g., an 8 x 10 frame has 18 united inches.