Gemini G.E.L. Online Catalogue Raisonné, National Gallery of Art HOME SEARCH GUIDE ESSAY GLOSSARY CREDITS

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rag paper
Cotton rags and/or pulped linen are the main ingredients for most fine art papers. See pulp.

The strategy used to align colors when printing a multicolor piece from several plates, stones, screens, or blacks. Each must print precisely in the correct location to form a coherent image.

relief printing
A printing process in which the impression is created by the uncarved or raised areas of the printing element. The ink is applied to the raised surface, while the incised or recessed areas remain clear. During printing, paper is often pushed into the sunken areas thus creating an embossed effect. Wood, linoleum, and plastic are most commonly used for relief printing.

relief sculpture
A sculptural composition whose image projects from its support or background, thereby adding depth and/or the illusion of three-dimensionality on the front and side surfaces only.

An organic substance in lump or powdered form that melts when heated. In printmaking, it is primarily used for aquatint grounds.

In mezzotint, a serrated cutting tool with a wide curved edge that roughens the surface of a metal plate.

In intaglio, a textured wheel that may be drawn across a metal plate to roughen the surface and produce tonalities.

Robert Rauschenberg Foundation impression. A proof intended for distribution to the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, a non-profit, private organization established in 1990 to promote public awareness of causes and benefit groups close to the heart of its founder, Robert Rauschenberg. This type of proof equals the right to print impression or standard used for the edition.

Right to produce. A copy of a three-dimensional object that equals the prototype. It is generally presented to the fabricator with whom the artist collaborated.

Right to proof or standard. The first impression achieved in the proofing period that meets the aesthetic and technical approval of the artist and Gemini. It is used as a guide for the production of the edition. The proof is generally presented to the printer with whom the artist collaborated.


The process of engraving or cutting glass, stone, or other hard materials using a high-velocity stream of sand.

sand cast
This process of casting in metal requires a mold be made by firmly packing very fine, damp sand in layers around a sculpture. When the first sculpture is removed, an exact impression remains in the sand. Increasingly complex forms may be created with additional sections of piece molds.

Special copy. The copy of a three-dimensional object that equals the right to print impression or standard used for the edition. Specifically created for the purpose of presentation by the artist and/or the publisher, this is sometimes called a dedication copy.

In mezzotint, a tool that smoothes the surface of the roughened plate by scraping off some or all of the texture on the surface thus reducing the plate's ability to carry ink. A scraper usually has a wooden handle and a shaft with one or more knifelike edges.

A print made by a stencil technique in which ink is forced through stretched mesh fabric (silk, cotton, nylon, or metal) onto paper beneath the frame. The image is created by blocking out parts of the mesh in a variety of ways such as hand-painting the screen with glue or lacquer; applying a cutout design; or by painting a light-sensitive resist on the screen which is then developed photographically. Unlike many of the other printing media, there is no mirror reversal in screenprinting, which is very versatile as it can be placed on almost any material.

To work the surface of metal by a stream of shot, such as glass shards, in order to achieve a rougher, non-reflective surface.

signing procedure
At the completion of the printing or fabrication of an edition and its proofs, a Gemini curator and the artist examine the edition. The approved edition is then signed and numbered by the artist, who usually inscribes the title and date as well.

slip cast
The process of forming objects by pouring slip, a creamy mixture of fine clay and water, into plaster molds.

An etching ground that has tallow added to prevent it from hardening. Once the ground has been laid onto the plate, a piece of soft paper may be fixed on top of it, onto which the artist may make a drawing. Where the pencil presses into the ground, it adheres to the paper, which is carefully pulled away together with the attached ground, leaving a design exposed on the copper. For a sharper line, the artist may draw directly through the ground again and textures can also be impressed through it. The plate is then bitten in the usual way, and an almost perfect facsimile of the original drawing is transferred to the copper.

Special proof. A proof specifically created for presentation purposes by the artist or publisher that equals the right to print impression or standard used for the edition. In some cases this is called a dedication proof (DP).

A direct intaglio method of painting the grounded etching plate with a strong acid rather than placing it in an acid-bath. Pale to dark tones can be achieved by varying the time and strength of the acid application. The term originated with the traditional practice of putting saliva on the plate to mix with the acid in order to control the dispersal of the fluid over the plate.

The point at which an artist stops work on a matrix and pulls an impression of a print. A first state is the first impression or impressions. A second state is the next impression taken after further design adjustments have been made. This sequence may continue until a final state is produced.

See pochoir.


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