Definitions of terms used in our auction catalog descriptions
The term Original means that an artwork is not a copy. Original artworks are usually made by hand. However, Original does not have the same meaning as Authentic.
- Authentic, or By, indicates that an artwork is by the artist named. When these terms are used, it is because there is historical documentation, or full provenance.
Examples: Authentic Andy Warhol; By Andy Warhol
- Authenticated indicates that the artwork has been deemed authentic by a recognized authority, or as the conclusion of scholarly research.
Examples: Authenticated Andy Warhol; Andy Warhol, Authenticated
Attributed (Attr.) is the term we use when we believe that there is a strong possibility that the artwork is by the artist whose name is on it, but unfortunately there is no provenance or conclusive documentation to prove it. Further research by scholars, or opinions of experts, may confirm or conflict with our opinion. Attribution is not authentication.
Examples: Famous Artist (1900-1999) Attributed; Famous Artist (1900-1999) Attr.
In The Manner Of
In The Manner Of, or simply Manner Of, is used to qualify an artwork which strongly resembles the work of a master artist. It is often used on artworks bearing the name of a famous artist, but not believed to be by that artist’s hand.
Examples: Famous Artist (1900-1999) Manner Of, or, In The Manner Of Famous Artist….
Attributed/In The Manner Of
The combination term Attributed/In The Manner Of is used for artworks which show significant possibility of authenticity, combined with an element of doubt. It is most often used on works bearing the names of artists whose work has historically been the subject of forgeries.
Example: Famous Artist (1900-1999) Attributed/Manner Of
After is the term used in two ways:
- To denote that the work is a copy of a known artwork by another artist;
- To indicate that the artwork is a mechanically printed reproduction of an original artwork which exists in another media. Sometimes reproductions are hand-signed by the artist.
Examples: Famous Artist (1900-1999) After, or, After Famous Artist (1900-1999)…
School Of /Follower Of
School Of and Follower Of are terms with similar meaning to In The Manner Of. It suggests that the artwork is strongly influenced by the work of a master artist. Both terms are usually applied to unsigned works which cannot be attributed to the master artist.
Examples: Famous Artist (1900-1999) School of; Follower of Famous Artist; Etc.
Signature/Signed in the Plate
- Signature refers to a hand-written legible or identifiable mark attributed to an artist.
- Signed in the plate refers to a mechanically printed signature.
Historically, the term comes from hand-made etching or engraving plates which contain the signature of the artists who created them.
Contemporary use of the term also includes signatures in photo-mechanical and digitally made reproductions, when he signature is not a hand-applied addition to a print.
Provenance is an artwork’s chain of ownership. Full provenance is a list of ownership from the time that an artwork was created. Broken provenance is a partial list, with gaps of ownership. Artworks with broken provenance are listed as attributed.
- Limited Edition means that a documented, finite number of examples of an artwork were produced. Limited editions are often marked with the total number of examples, but some editions, especially older ones (pre-1900) may not be marked. Some common markings for an edition of 100 pieces may include: ed. 100 (edition of 100); 62/100 (the 62nd example from an edition of 100). These indications are usually hand applied to the lower margin, or hand-written on the image. Some other terms may include: A.P. or E.A. (Both mean Artist’s Proof); P.P. (Printer’s Proof); H.C. (Hors Commerce =Sample, Not For Sale); B.A.T. (Bon a Tirer = Artist approved print to be used by the printer as a guide when making an edition.)
- Open Edition means that there is an unknown number of examples, and, if the printing plates exist, there is the possibility that more prints may be made in the future.