AskDefine | Define vernissage

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see Vernissage

English

Etymology

From French vernissage.

Pronunciation

  • /vɛ:nɪ'sɑ:ʒ/

Noun

  1. the day before the opening of an exhibition when paintings are varnished and retouched
  2. a private viewing of an exhibition before it opens to the public
    • 1893: the artists' association will be forced to advance or delay its vernissage and opening day. — The Times, 2 May 1893, p.5 col. C

Translations

day before the opening of an exhibition when paintings are varnished
private viewing of an exhibition before it opens to the public

French

Etymology

From vernir ‘to varnish’.

Pronunciation

  • /vɛʀnisaʒ/

Noun

vernissage m
  1. varnishing, glazing
  2. a private viewing at a gallery

Extensive Definition

A vernissage (varnishing, from French), also known as a preview, private view or simply opening, is the start of an art exhibition. Guests may be served canapés and wine as they discuss with artists and others the works in the exhibition. Critics and press may also be present, or invited to separate private viewings.
At official exhibitions, such as the Royal Academy summer exhibition, artists, in the past, would give a finishing touch to their works by varnishing them (J M W Turner was known for making significant changes to works on varnishing day while his fellow academicians were simply varnishing). The custom of patrons and the élite of visiting the academies during the varnishing day prior to the formal opening of the exhibition gave rise to the tradition of celebrating the completion of an art work or a series of art works with friends and sponsors. Nowadays, for commercial shows it is an opportunity to market the works on sale to buyers and critics.
There also is a comparable ceremonial ending of art exhibitions, called finissage. Larger art exhibitions also may have such an event at half time of the exhibition (midissage).
vernissage in Czech: Vernisáž
vernissage in German: Vernissage
vernissage in French: Vernissage
vernissage in Dutch: Vernissage
vernissage in Polish: Wernisaż
vernissage in Portuguese: Vernissage
vernissage in Swedish: Vernissage
vernissage in Italian: Vernissage
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