Catalogue Raisonné Life and Work The Foundation



The following is a list of sculpting terms used in the Archipenko Sculpture Catalogue Raisonné:

Acrylic Glass: A transparent thermoplastic that was trademarked under different names, including Plexiglas, Lucite, and Perspex.

Alabaster: A fine-grained, translucent, sedimentary stone composed of hydrous calcium sulfate, which varies in color from white to yellowish or pink, occasionally displaying veins or cloudy inclusions.

Alloy: A mixture of two or more metals that have been melted together.

Aluminum: Malleable, silver-colored metal that is light weight and resists oxidation (discoloration such as patina).

Base: Stand or support for the display of a finished piece of sculpture.

Brass: Alloy consisting of copper and zinc, usually also containing varying amounts of other metals such as lead and tin.

Bronze: Alloy consisting of copper and tin; the compound may vary in the proportions of each.

Cast: A reproduction of an original piece of sculpture in any number of casting materials, most commonly plaster or bronze.

Casting: The process that duplicates a model or piece by pouring casting material into a mold.

Cast Stone: A powder containing marble aggregate and several types of gypsum. It is mixed with water and cast into a mold.

Cement: A powder of alumina, silica, lime, iron oxide, and magnesia burned together and pulverized to make mortar or concrete.

Ceramic: A clay material usually mixed with other materials such as silica, and fired at high temperature. Earthenware and porcelain are considered ceramics.

Chasing: In bronze casting, chasing refers to refining rough areas or seam lines that occur after casting by filing and/or hammering, a prerequisite to polishing.

Chromium: Chemical used in electroplating metals.

Clay: A natural material formed by the decomposition of certain types of rock. When mixed with water it becomes a stiff paste that can be shaped and then fired (exposed to intense heat) so that the form hardens.

Copper: A reddish metallic element that is malleable and conducts heat and electricity well.

Foundry: The establishment where metal casting takes place.

Foundry Stamp: A general term describing identification marks added to a cast sculpture by the foundry. Foundry stamps may indicate the name of the foundry, or founder and/or the edition number. The stamp may be pressed or carved into the wax model before casting, or incised or stamped into the cast metal itself.

Gilding: The process of coating an object with a thin layer of gold. A surface that has been covered by gilding is said to be gilt or gilded.

Glaze: In ceramic sculpture, a silica-based glassy coating fused to a ceramic body, which functions as both a decorative and a protective layer.

Edition: The intentional production of a sculpture in several identical examples. In sculpture, the term edition is usually associated with bronze casting, and signifies the execution of multiple casts from the same set of molds that derive from the original model. An edition is usually limited to a certain number of casts.

Electroplating: The process of applying a metal coating to a surface by means of an electric current.

Enlargement: A reproduction of an existing sculpture on a larger scale.

Hydrocal: Trade name of U.S. Gypsum Co. A strong gypsum material used for casting rather than mold making, stronger than casting plaster but not as strong as Hydrostone.

Hydrostone: Trade name of U.S. Gypsum Co. A gypsum product of the greatest hardness, used for casting only, not mold making.

Inscription: Any text that has been cast, carved, engraved, or stamped into a surface, or—in the case of soft materials like clay or wax—formed with a stylus or other pointed tool.

Lead: Heavy, soft, malleable, ductile metal used in low temperature casting.

Limestone: Formed by accumulation of organic remains—generally shells and coral. A coarse stone used for carving.

Marble: Crystallized calcium carbonate from limestone formed under extreme pressure.

Mold: The negative impression of a form in which a sculpting material is poured or pressed. Molds allow for the production of one or many copies of an original model or sculpture.

Mottling: Having spots or blotches on the surface.

Nickel: Metal used extensively in alloys as a catalyst.

Papier-mâché: Construction material that consists of pieces of paper—sometimes reinforced with textiles—stuck together using a wet paste such as glue or starch. The crafted object becomes solid when the paste dries.

Patina: Coloring of a sculpture in plaster, bronze, etc., with acids or pigments. Variations are countless due to the variety of color mixes. The natural bronze patina on sculptures is caused by oxidation and the weather.

Polishing: The final process, if chosen, in finishing a piece of sculpture.

Polychromy: The decoration of a surface in many colors.

Portrait: Any representational likeness of an individual.

Relief: Sculpture in which the elements of the composition project from the surface of a more or less flat background known as the relief plane.

Terracotta: Coarse-grained clay that has been fired at low temperatures and left unglazed. The term terracotta also encompasses polychrome glazed works.

1 For further reference, see: Jane Bassett and Peggy Fogelman. Looking at European Sculpture, A Guide to Technical Terms. Los Angeles and London: The J. Paul Getty Museum in collaboration with The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1997.