Term Guide for Reading an Object Record


Please note that information about the collection is constantly updated to reflect the results of ongoing research.

Name of Artist: [click on name for artist information] that which the artist used during his or her professional career (full name of artist appears in interpretative text)

  • “Anonymous” is applied to an object when the artist is unknown
  • “Attributed to” indicates an artist as the most-probable creator
  • “After” before an artist's name denotes that the work is based on a particular work by that artist

Life Dates: years followed by known locations

Title: that by which the object is commonly known

  • if a title is unknown, “untitled” precedes a description of the object in brackets
  • a foreign-language title is followed by an English translation

Date: indicates the year that the object was created

  • “by” indicates that the object must have been created by that date (for example: a work was known to have been exhibited by that date)
  • “begun” indicates the year an unfinished object was started
  • “c.” (circa) indicates the object could have been created a maximum of five years before or five years after the given date
  • “between” indicates that the object was created within a certain span of time
  • “[year] or [year]” indicates completion of an object by one of the given dates
  • “[year]–[year]” indicates that the object was worked on over a span of those years
  • “undated” indicates that an object cannot be reasoned to a specific date or time frame

Medium: material and support used to create the object

Dimensions: measurement of the object in inches followed by centimeters, with height stated before width and then depth (if applicable)

Credit line: indicates the means by which an object entered the collection

Accession Number: unique number for purposes of identification; assigned when the object formally becomes part of the collection

Signed: indicates if the object has been signed by the artist, how, and where on the object

Inscriptions: indicates markings (other than signature) by the artist that appear on the object

Marks: indicates markings that are visible on the object; may or may not be by the artist's hand

Interpretation: a contextual study of the object and artist resulting from on-going research

Provenance: the known history of ownership listed in chronological order

  • each owner is entered on a separate line
  • dates refer to when the object was acquired
  • known relationships are noted in parentheses

Exhibition History: known titles, organizers, venues, and dates of exhibitions in which the object was included, listed in chronological order

  • if an object was exhibited with a title variation it is noted in parentheses
  • a known catalogue number of an object follows the exhibition dates (example: no. 7)
  • when an exhibition object was displayed for a length of time other than that of the exhibition dates it is so noted (for example: on exhibit, partial run)
  • an exhibition with a known catalogue is followed by [exh. cat.]

Published References: known published texts and/or illustrations that refer to that specific object

  • an illustration is indicated as black & white or color when known
  • for objects created in multiples (such as prints or sculptures) published references refer to general information; any known reference to the Terra's specific object is noted in brackets
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