Art Defined: Part 2

What’s the difference between modern and contemporary art? What is provenance? A Catalogue Raisonné? Here are some common art terms defined.


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Modern Art

Art that was produced in the late 1860’s through the 1970’s and that rejected traditionally accepted forms and emphasized individual experimentation and sensibility.

Contemporary Art

Art produced at this present point in time or art produced since World War II. The definition would support the first view, but museums of contemporary art commonly define their collections as consisting of art produced since World War II.

Art Movement

An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a restricted period of time, usually a few months, years or decades. Wikipedia


1) Place of origin; derivation. 2) The history of the ownership of an object, especially when documented or authenticated. Used artworks, antiques, and books. 3) The records or documents authenticating such an object or the history of its ownership.

Catalogue Raisonné

An exhaustive book which covers every known work of an individual artist up to the year of the book’s publication. Typically, a catalogue raisonné is only written by the leading expert(s) on said artist, over the course of many years’ research.

Primary Art Market

The primary market offers the work that emerges from artists’ studios and is often displayed in carefully curated gallery shows.

Secondary Art Market

The resale market for art. Every time a work of art is sold after the initial sale (primary), it is a secondary market sale.

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