Art Space II



A. W. S. 
American Watercolor Society. In 1866, a group of eleven painters met to form “The American painters in Water Color.” The newly formed society held its first exhibition in the fall of 1867 and these annual exhibitions have continued to the present time. In 1878, the name was changed to its current one, and was incorporated in 1903. Active members number approximately 500, with approximately 2,000 associates. There is an annual juried exhibition open to anyone. 

The first underpainting/sketching performed on a canvas. 

Abstract Expressionism
A 1940’s New York painting movement based on Abstract Art. This type of painting is often referred to as action painting.

Not realistic, though the intention is often based on an actual subject, place, or feeling. Pure abstraction can be interpreted as any art in which the depiction of real objects has  been entirely discarded and whose aesthetic content is expressed in a formal pattern or structure of shapes, lines, and colors. When the representation of real objects is completely absent, such art may be called non-objective. The first purely abstract painting in the modern tradition is usually held to be a watercolor produced by Kandinsky in about 1910. Since then, two main tendencies of abstract painting have developed: the hard-edged geometric style exemplified by the work of Mondrian, Malevich, and the constructivists; and the freer, more subjective and spontaneous style of the abstract expressionists, such as Jackson Pollock. Another major division is between those artists and sculptors who attempt to reduce natural objects to their essential forms, such as Brancusi and the cubists; and those who maintain that shape, line, and color have an aesthetic and emotional value independent of any reference to the natural world. A characteristic of abstract sculpture is the use of new materials, such as plastic, glass, and steel.

Emphasis given to certain elements in a painting that allows them to attract more attention. Details that define an object or piece of art.

An object of art becoming part of a permanent collection of a museum or other collector.

A rapid drying paint which is easy to remove with mineral spirits; a plastic substance commonly used as a binder for paints; a synthetic oil compatible medium that may be thinned with linseed oil and turpentine.

Action Painting*
Any painting style calling for vigorous physical activity; specifically, Abstract Expressionism. Examples include the New York School art movement and the work of Jackson Pollock.

Aerial Perspective*
Capturing the earth’s atmosphere by using painting techniques that make distant objects appear to have less color, texture, and distinction. 

Pertaining to the beautiful, as opposed to the useful, scientific, or emotional. An aesthetic response is an appreciation of such beauty.

Synthetic resin used in paints and mediums. As a medium works as a binder that encapsulates the pigment and speeds the drying time.

Alla Prima*

Technique in which the final surface of painting is completed in one sitting, with the first application of paints, without under painting. Italian for “at the first”.

Resembling the skin of an alligator, it describes the crackled texturing of a painted surface. It is usually thought of as disfiguring, although sometimes intentional.

American Abstract Artists
The American Abstract Artists (AAA) was a group in the 1930s and 1940s whose exhibitions and publications added considerable fuel to the simmering discussion of "What is art?”. The AAA was formed in 1936 to unite and exhibit the work of abstract artists in the United States and to promote a "new art form" that would veer away from social realism, then the accepted style for American artists. European artists had the corner on modernism. The numerous members of the AAA, including Rhys Caparn, Ilya Bolotowsky, John Ferren, and others, were significant participants in the ongoing debate of the nature of art. Through their efforts, recognition for synthetic cubism, geometric abstraction, neoplasticism, abstract biomorphism, and hardedge was achieved, and the way was paved for the emergence of the New York school of Abstract

American Gothic
Associated with American painter, Grant Wood (1892-1942). A ‘hard-edged’, and realistic, style of painting. An example is the famous painting, American Gothic, 1930, by Grant Wood.

American Impressionism
American Impressionism placed more emphasis on form than French Impressionism. American Impressionism evolved from French Impressionism. William Merritt Chase, who founded one of the first outdoor painting schools in 1878 in New York and his student, Charles Hawthorne who founded the Cape Cod School of Art in1899, espoused painting the changing effects of light with masses of color while modeling and defining the forms with distinct color variations, generally 'en plein air' (on location)." See  Impressionism Credit:Cynthia McBride, McBride Gallery in Annapolis, MD American Renaissance Movement
The American term for the Beaux-Arts style that developed in the second half of the 19th Century in the Paris architectural school, the Ecole des Beaux Arts. In France and America, the underlying philosophy was a revival from the Italian Renaissance with commitments to painting, sculpture and architecture that expressed lofty themes and taught high moral values. The ancient Greeks and Romans, with their emphasis on perfect proportions, were the model exponents. For Americans, the movement, 1870 to 1915, was appealing because it created a sense of continuum from earlier civilizations
to the relatively new culture of the United States. It also introduced architecture as a discipline and this, in turn, led to mural painting and sculpture to enhance buildings designed in this Renaissance style. Some of the exponents of the American
Renaissance movement were Reginald Machell, Arthur Mathews, Domenico Tojetti, Charles Rollo Peters, and members of the Cornish Colony in Cornish, New Hampshire, whose founders included Augustus St. Gaudens and George de Forest Brush. Other members of that Colony were Stephen Parrish, Maxfield Parrish, Thomas and Maria Dewing, Abbott Thayer, and others who were devoted to creating the ideals of a past Golden Age. 

American Scene
A term probably derived from Henry James's collection of essays and impressions, 'The American Scene' (1907), published upon James's own rediscovery of his native land after 21 years as an expatriate. The term entered the vocabulary of fine arts by the 1920s and was applied to the paintings of Charles Burchfield during 1924.

American Society of Miniature Painters
A turn-of-the-century group of artists devoted to a highly exacting technique of “painting in little”, that was a backlash in art against the country’s fascination with technology. It was an attempt to counteract the ugliness and misery of the burgeoning
industrial society, and incorporated a renewed interest in handwork inspired by Englishmen John Ruskin and William Morris. It culminated in the Arts and Crafts movement that flourished for the last three decades of the 19th century in England,
and also in America. William J. Whittemore was one of the founders. Others that were active included Eulabee Dix, Laura Cooms Hills, and Emily Drayton Taylor.

American Ten (The)

(See Ten American Painters)

Analogous Colors* 
Colors that are closely related, or near each other on the color spectrum. Especially those in which we can see common hues.

Anamorphic Art

Anamorphoses, from the Greek "ana" (again), "morphe" (shape) - a distorted image whereas the observer is first deceived by a barely recognizable image, and is then directed to a viewpoint dictated by the formal construction of the painting. The
spectator must play a part and re-form the picture himself. Similar characteristics can be found in illusionistic wall and ceiling painting, and in the use of accelerated and retarded perspective in architecture, theatrical stage design, and urban design. 

Anglo-Saxon Art
Characterized by interlaced motif, it was an art style relevant to England in the fifth to eleventh centuries.

Term introduced by French-American, Marcel Duchamp (ca. 1914) for a form of art, Dada or in it’s tradition, where conventional forms and theories are rejected. This may refer to their materials, techniques, or method of display.

“Watercolor” in French, referring to the drawing or painting with transparent watercolor.

A print produced by the same technique as an etching, except that the areas between the etched lines are covered with a powdered resin that protects the surface from the biting process of the acid bath. The granular appearance that results in the print aims at approximating the effects and gray tonalities of a watercolor drawing.


Refers to materials that meet certain criteria for permanence, such as lignin-free, pH neutral, alkaline-buffered, stable in light,

A rigid framework, often wood or steel, used to support a sculpture or other large work while it is being made.

Art Brut
Term coined in 1945 by Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985). French for “raw art”. Refers to the art of Outsiders (naïve artists, the mentally ill, and the art of children.) Art not produced for recognition or profit.

Art Deco*
An art style of the 1920s and 1930s based on modern materials (steel, chrome, glass). A style characterized by repetitive, geometric patters of curves and lines.

Art Engage
Art influenced by political or social significance. French term meaning “art involved in life”.

Art Nouveau*
An Art style of the late 1800s featuring curving, often-swirling shapes based on organic forms.

Artist’s Proof*
An Artist’s Proof is one outside the regular edition. By custom, the artist retains the A/Ps for his personal use or sale.
 art Glossary

The technique of creating a sculpture by joining together individual pieces or segments, sometimes “found” objects that originally served another purpose.

Association of American Painters and Sculptors
An association formed by a group of New York artists in 1911 who were dissatisfied with the problems of exhibiting their work both within and without the framework of the National Academy of Design, and with the stylistic constraints imposed by the Academy on artists. Organizers did not espouse any specific style or subject matter of art, but had the common goal of casting aside restrictions they regarded as inhibiting. The immediate aim of the group was to find suitable exhibition space for young American artists and to "lead the public taste in art, rather than follow it. After preliminary meetings between the painters Jerome Myers (1867–1940), Elmer MacRae (1875–1955), Walt Kuhn (1877–1949) and others, a meeting was held at the Madison Gallery on 16 December 1911 for the purpose of founding a new artists’ organization. At a subsequent meeting on 2 January 1912 they elected officers and began to discuss exhibition plans. The president, Julian Alden Weir, who had been elected in absentia, resigned, however, and the leadership passed to Arthur B. Davies. 

French term for “artist’s workshop.” Place where an artist trains; an artist’s studio.

Atmospheric Perspective*
A device for suggesting three-dimensional depth on a two-dimensional surface. Forms meant to be perceived as distant from the viewer are blurred, indistinct, misty and often bluer.

States that the authorship of a work of art is in doubt, but that on documentary or stylistic grounds it can be assigned to a particular artist.

A group active in the invention and application of new ideas and techniques in an original or experimental way. A group of practitioners and/or advocates of a new art form may also be called avant-garde. Some avant-garde works are intended to shock those who are accustomed to traditional, established styles.