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Categories for the Description of Works of Art


9. State


DEFINITION

The relationship of a work created in multiples, such as a print, to other stages of the same work.

SUBCATEGORIES


9.1. State Description
9.2. State Identification
9.3. Known States
9.4. Remarks
9.5. Citations
      9.5.1. Page

Examples


GENERAL DISCUSSION

STATE is applicable to works created in multiples, particularly prints such as etchings printed from plates that are altered repeatedly. It may also refer to any sequence of related stages that together build toward the creation of a work of art or architecture. Each variation in the plate or stage of production is identified as a particular state. Since works of art produced in multiples typically vary slightly, identifying the state of a specific work makes it possible to distinguish it from other quite similar works. Differences in the application of ink to the same state of the plate are not separated states. Printmakers may make proofs to test their work on the plate; proofs sometimes survive and are typically named (e.g., artist's proof).[1]

While state is primarily associated with graphic works, some sculptures have terms associated with them that refer to their state, such as artist's proof. This category could also be used to refer to stages in the construction of a work of architecture.

Numbered and named states
STATE can be expressed as a ratio of the state of the object to the number of known states. This should be combined with the name of the person who identified the total number of states, and the date of the publication in which the schema of possible states was delineated. Different authors may enumerate a varying number of possible states of a work, and alternate sequences of these states.

Unnumbered states also exist; these usually date from the time before a print was in circulation or before a work was completed. These are identified by specialized terms such as printer's proof and bon à tiré proof.

Sources
The identification of the state of a work may require the expertise of a connoisseur if a published catalogue raisonné does not exist. The enumeration of states is often speculative, as not all states of a work may be known or described. Much of the literature on printmaking has focused on the identification of the various states of an artist's graphic works. Unless an inscription exists on the object, identifying it may be difficult; secondary sources or other works may be consulted to identify a specific state. Prepublication states such as working proofs often have inscriptions that identify their purpose.

Uses
The state of a work helps to identify it and distinguish it from other similar works. Positioning a print within the process of the development of an idea is important for the researcher; it places the work in the creative process, as various states of a print or bronze show differing stages in the development of an idea. Comparing different states of a work can illustrate the development of its various versions. Once a work has been positioned within the creative process, it can be dated with more accuracy and evaluated with more certainty.

Cataloging rules
For the subcategories in this section, basic recommendations and discussion are provided below. For a fuller, more prescriptive set of cataloging rules for some of the subcategories, see Chapter 3: Physical Characteristics in Cataloging Cultural Objects (CCO), which deals with a critical subset of the CDWA.

RELATED CATEGORIES and ACCESS

If a work has been reissued, in whole or in part, at a later date, this should be indicated in the EDITION category. Different versions of a work, such as copies after a work, re-creations, replicas, or reproductions of it, are not considered states and should be recorded in RELATED WORKS. This includes the following examples: 1/4-scale version, 1/2 or half-scale version, full-scale version, small version, version A. If the block, plate, or negative that a work was printed from is known to exist, it should be recorded in RELATED WORKS. If STATE is determined on the basis of comparison with another work, the latter should be noted in RELATED WORKS.

The state of a work can often provide clues to its dating. The creation date of the work should be specified in the subcategory CREATION - DATE. Object component parts, lots, or collections, such as tea sets, or nests of baskets, are not covered in the subcategory. See OBJECT/WORK - COMPONENTS. If a work is not in its original state or condition, this should be indicated in the category CONDITION/EXAMINATION HISTORY.

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9.1. State Description

DEFINITION

An indication of the relationship of the work to other stages of the same work.

EXAMPLES


3rd state
4th of 5 states
bon à tirer
printer's proof
hors commerce
final state
artist's proof
proof before letters
experimental proof
progressive proof
printer's proof
counter proof
unnumbered

1st of 3 states (Robison (1986))
[2]
variant of state I (Bartsch 171-II (129)[3]
Adhémar 54.X [4]
Reed and Shapiro 52.XV-XVIH [5]


DISCUSSION and GUIDELINES

Optional: For prints and as appropriate for other works produced in multiples, record an indication of the relationship of the work to other stages of the same work, if known. Any stage in the development of a printing plate at which impressions are taken is a State; a new State occurs when the matrix (plate) is altered (e.g., lines are added or erased). A work's state may be expressed as a ratio: the state to which this work belongs out of the number of known states (e.g., 2nd of 5 states). It may also be identified by a descriptive phrase, such as final state or print before letters.

Format and syntax
Use natural word order. List the ratio of the state of the work to the total number of known states (e.g., 3rd of 5 states). If the number of states is unknown, list the numeric indication of the state (e.g., 3rd state). For unnumbered states, record the appropriate term. Use lower case. Avoid abbreviations, except for abbreviations for numbers (e.g., use 2nd rather than second). Use ordinal numerals (e.g., 4th) and Arabic cardinal numbers (e.g., 5), as appropriate. Record other terminology in the language of the catalog record. If no English term exists and non-English terms must be used, include the appropriate diacritical marks (e.g., bon à tirer).

If scholars disagree or are uncertain about the state, clearly indicate this in the display (e.g., possibly 2nd of 4 states). If you do not know the total number of states, include the known state and omit the total number of states (e.g., 2nd state). When more than one study of an artist's oeuvre exists, or there is disagreement about the number of states of a particular work in existence, the identification of the state should also include the name of the author of the catalogue raisonné used to identify the state, and the date it was published; Adhémar 54.X and Reed and Shapiro 52.XV-XVIH actually refer to the same state.

Types of states
Use the following terminology for various types of states and proofs. For additional types of proofs, see the sources of terminology below.


Numerical states: For most indications of STATE, record numerical references as described above (e.g., 1st of 3 states).

Artist's proof: Use artist's proof (or epreuve d'artiste) for impressions printed especially for the artist and excluded from the numbering of an edition. On the print, you may find it abbreviated as AP or EA, and numbered with an edition number according to the number of artist's proofs pulled (e.g., AP 2/12).

Bon à tirer: Use bon à tirer (or right to print) for the proof approved by the artist to establish the standard for all of the other prints in the edition.

Hors-commerce: Use hors-commerce, meaning "outside the commercial edition," for proofs that were excluded from the numbering of an edition, were not originally intended for sale, are not artist's proofs, printer's proofs, or bon à tirer. You may find it abbreviated HC on the print.

Printer's proof: Use printer's proof for impressions printed as tests for the printer and excluded from the numbering of an edition. You may find it abbreviated PP on the print.


TERMINOLOGY/FORMAT

Free text: This is not a controlled field. Maintain consistent capitalization, punctuation, and syntax where possible. For the named proofs, use terms derived from the AAT (Objects facet, Visual Works hierarchy, proofs (prints by function)) or from the National Gallery of Art glossary. Index the state in IDENTIFICATION and KNOWN STATES, discussed below.

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9.2. State Identification

DEFINITION

The identifying number or name assigned to the state of a work that exists in more than one form.

EXAMPLES


2
10
artist's proof


DISCUSSION and GUIDELINES

Optional: Record the number of the state being cataloged. If the state is named, record the name.

TERMINOLOGY/FORMAT

Controlled format and authority or controlled list: For numbered states, use whole numbers. For the named proofs, use a controlled list of terminology or the GENERIC CONCEPT AUTHORITY. Terms may be derived from the AAT (Objects facet, Visual Works hierarchy, proofs (prints by function)) or from the National Gallery of Art glossary.

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9.3. Known States

DEFINITION

For numbered states, the total number of identified states.

EXAMPLES


5
11


DISCUSSION and GUIDELINES

Optional: Record the total number of known states related to the item being cataloged. For named states, this subcategory is not applicable.

TERMINOLOGY/FORMAT

Controlled format: For numbered states, use whole numbers. For named states, this subcategory is not applicable.

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9.4. Remarks

DEFINITION

Additional notes or comments pertinent to information in this category..

DISCUSSION and GUIDELINES

Optional: Record a note regarding the state of the work. Use consistent syntax and format. For rules regarding writing notes, see DESCRIPTIVE NOTE.

FORMAT/TERMINOLOGY

Free-text: This is not a controlled field. Use consistent syntax and format.

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9.5. Citations

DEFINITION

A reference to a bibliographic source, unpublished document, or individual opinion that provides the basis for the information recorded in this category.

DISCUSSION and GUIDELINES

Optional: Record the source used for the information about state. For a full set of rules for CITATIONS, see RELATED TEXTUAL REFERENCES - CITATIONS.

TERMINOLOGY/FORMAT

Authority: Ideally, this information is controlled by citations in the citations authority; see RELATED TEXTUAL REFERENCES.

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9.5.1. Page

DEFINITION

Page number, volume, date accessed for Web sites, and any other information indicating where in the source the information was found.

DISCUSSION and GUIDELINES

Optional: For a full set of rules for PAGE, see RELATED TEXTUAL REFERENCES - CITATIONS - PAGE.

FORMAT/TERMINOLOGY

Free-text: This is not a controlled field. Use consistent syntax and format.

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EXAMPLES


[most typical type of state, identification and total number of states are known]
State Description: 3rd of 5 states
State Identification: 3
Known States: 5

[named state]
State Description: artist's proof
State Identification: artist's proof
Known States: N/A

[uncertain state]
State Description: possibly 3rd of 4 states
State Identification: 3
Known States: 4

[unknown number of known states]
State Description: 2nd state
State Identification: 2
Known States: unknown

[unknown number of total states]
State Description: final state
State Identification: final
Known States: unknown

[citing the source]
State Description: 1st of 3 states (Robison (1986))
State Identification: 1
Known States: 3
Citations: Andrew Robison. Early Architectural Fantasies: Catalogue Raisonné of the Piranesi Etchings. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1986.


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NOTE: The outline numbers are subject to change; they are intended only to organize this document.

Revised 8 September 2008