"After" - What Does This Art Term Mean?

December 27, 2018

La Sierne is a wood engraving after Marc Chagall

You may be visiting a museum, auction or gallery and see the term "after" behind the artist's name and wonder what that means.  Simply put, it means that it is a copy of that artist's work.

An example of this is when you see an artist painting a copy of a painting in a museum. This copy is not a fake because no one is claiming that the original artist did the painting nor are the copyist claiming that they are the original artist of the composition.

Red-tailed Buzzard is a water colored lithograph after John James Audubon from the Royal Octavo Edition 1840-1844This practice has been going on for centuries. In fact, many ancient Roman sculptures are "afters" because they copied the Greek sculptures.  We should be happy that they did because many of the Greek sculptures have been destroyed and the Roman copies are they only way that we know what they looked like.

There are different levels to "afters".  The highest level is when the original artist is actually involved or approves the "after".  An example of this is when Picasso created a painting and then an original etching or lithograph is created by another artist under Picasso's approval of the painting. Picasso would then sign the "after".  Picasso created many original lithographs and etchings that are not based on any other art. These are by Picasso and are not "afters". The lowest level of an "after" is when a copyist is far removed from the artist by either association or time.

Some "afters" can be very valuable, selling for over $110,000.  Most are considerably less than what the art by the original artist is sold for.  It just depends on the level and quality of the "after".

To learn more about art, contact Seaside Art Gallery. The gallery is one of the largest galleries in the Southeast, with more than 50 years of excellence and reputed customer service. Their toll free number is 800-828-2444, or shop 200+ artists on their website, www.seasideart.com.





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