Acrylic A rival to oil paint, coloured pigment is held in a clear plastic solution. It provides bright, long-lasting colour.
Art Brut The term outsider art was coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym for art brut (French: [aʁ bʁyt], "raw art" or "rough art"), a label created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture; Dubuffet focused particularly on art by those on the outside of the established art scene, such as psychiatric hospital patients and children. While Dubuffet's term is quite specific, the English term "outsider art" is often applied more broadly, to include certain self-taught or naïve art makers who were never institutionalized. Typically, those labeled as outsider artists have little or no contact with the mainstream art world or art institutions. In many cases, their work is discovered only after their deaths. Often, outsider art illustrates extreme mental states, unconventional ideas, or elaborate fantasy worlds. Outsider art has emerged as a successful art marketing category; an annual Outsider Art Fair has taken place in New York since 1993, and there are at least two regularly published journals dedicated to the subject. The term is sometimes misapplied as a catch-all marketing label for art created by people who are outside the mainstream "art world" or "art gallery system", regardless of their circumstances or the content of their work.
Board Board. A more modern substrate, board is heavy card with a smooth or embossed surface. A descrition of a work might, for example, say 'acrylic on board'.
Bought-in In auction results the prices achieved are given. If a lot is shown as 'bought-in' it means that it did not reach its reserve price and was unsold.
Canvas The classic substrate for painting, canvas is a heavy fabric stretched over a wooden frame - a stretcher.
Catalogue raisonné A comprehensive, annotated listing of all the known works by an artist either in a particular medium or all media. The works are described in a way that lets them be reliably identified by a third party.
Collagraph A hand printing technique using many separate printing plates to provide limited editions with the visual appeal of an original painting.
Condition You'd expect a primary market purchase to be in perfect or 'mint' condition. An artwork that has led a hard life might well be 'poor', 'damaged', 'dirty', 'crazed', 'creased', 'deteriorated', 'flaked', etc
Conservation A skilled technique to repair damage and deterioration.
Diptych A painting consisting of two panels, each complete in itself, but complementary when displayed next to its partner.
Etching A printing process resulting, usually, a work with a limited colour range.
Gesso A white paint consisting of a binder and a pigment such as chalk or gypsum. Gesso is used to prepare a surface which will later be painted over with the finished work.
Gouache A thick, heavily pigmented water-based paint.
Hammer price The price at which auction bidding stopped and the auctioneer's gavel 'hammered' the podium. The actual price will be the hammer price plus the auction house's buyers premium (often 25%) and, in some instances, VAT and resale rights.
Impasto The application of paint so thickly that it stands out in relief from the substrate.
Intaglio A portfolio word covering printing techniques like drypoint, etching, engraving, where ink is pressed into marks on the printing plate, the ink then transferring to paper as the plate and paper pass through a press.
Limited Edition A print made in a limited quantity, each identified with an edition number so that, say, 14/25 would be the 14th print of an edition of 25. After the edition has been completed the printing plates are destroyed.
Medium A word describing the way an image is put onto a surface, such as oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolour, collage, etc.
Oil A paint type where pigments are mixed in an oil, often linseed. Oil paint dries slowly and some art techniques exploit this to build up mixed and layered colours within the work.
Primary The first sale of a work is always 'primary', whether it is direct from artist, from the artist's agent, from an artist-appointed dealer or even a commissioned work. The price paid on the primary market sets a benchmark determined by the quality of the work, the artist's reputation, the availability of his or her work, its nature - painting or print, for example, and even the size and the materials used.
Primary Art Market The primary art market refers to when an artwork comes to the market for the first time at a gallery or any other art exhibition. This is the time when the price for the artwork is established for the first time. In technical terms, similar to the maker of a design product, a sail boat, or jewelry, the gallery/dealer, in conjunction with the artist, establishes a selling price based on the cost of research and development/creation of the product. The age-old truism from the economic theory on “supply and demand” defines this pricing structure. When the demand grows for the works of a particular artist’s work, whether paintings, sculptures, photographs, or graphic prints, the value and the price of the art increases. Generally, speaking, the greater the demand, the higher the price the artwork would command on the primary market.
Proof When prints are made, the first off are 'proofs' which let the artist or printmaker examine them in detail to see whether any corrections or amendments are needed.
Provenance A very important concept in the secondary market, 'provenance' is the record or records that let the work be traced back to its primary market introduction. Without adequate provenance it is difficult for a work to be accepted as definitely by a particular artist.
Resale Rights When a work is sold on the secondary market for €1000 or more, the original artist may be entitled to a royalty on the sale. The royalty is calculated on a sliding scale that peaks at 4%.
Secondary All subsequent sales of a work are on the secondary market. Sources include galleries, private sales and auction sales. Prices achieved on the secondary market – particularly at auction, which is a measure of consumer demand and price expectation - indicate the direction and momentum of interest the artist and their work.
Size By convention, the height of a work always precedes its width in descriptions.
Triptych A work consisting of three panels. Often they are hinged, with the two outer panels forming 'doors' over the central panel, thus providing some protection when not on view. The outside of a triptych may also be decorated, but usually not as elaborately as the inside.
Watercolour A solid or paste-like paint that is thinned with water before being painted, usually onto paper or board.