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Vernissage, Salon de Paris (1866)
Vernissage in the Frankfurt Art Cabinet (2009)

Under Vernissage ([ vɛrnɪsaːʒə ,] from French vernis ? / I , varnish ' ) is the grand opening of art exhibition where the works of a living artist to be exhibited. Audio file / audio sample


Originally, the vernissage was the final completion of a painting. For this purpose, varnish ( French vernis , a clear lacquer) was applied to the finished picture , on the one hand to protect the work from environmental influences and on the other hand to bring the colors to unfold in a special way. The work was "finally finished", since it was practically impossible to continue painting afterwards. Usually the artists varnish the pictures to be exhibited themselves in order to check the result. In some of the exhibiting galleries this work was also done by employees, and the artists then had to adjust to the effect of their colors after the varnish.

In the course of time the custom arose to honor this “varnish”, which preceded the formal opening of the exhibition, with a celebration in the presence of friends and clients. Later the two coincided and the vernissage became the “exhibition opening”.

Vernissage today

Today the vernissage is the grand opening of an exhibition. The works are effectively placed in a gallery to enable visitors to have a special art experience. Before the exhibition opens to the public, special guests are invited to the vernissage: art lovers, art dealers, politicians, business leaders, patrons of the gallery and artists and of course the press. The gallery owner opens the vernissage and he or an art connoisseur presents the exhibited works and the artist, his career and his oeuvre. The artist is often present in person. This is followed by consideration and discussion of the individual works. The process is usually framed by a standing reception at the beginning, and art talks with fine drinks and culinary delicacies at the end.

The festive end on the last day of an art exhibition is called the finissage . In the case of larger art exhibitions, there can also be a media-effective midissage halfway through the exhibition.

Vernissage in large group work

When topics are dealt with in large groups in the context of organizational development with the aim of achieving concrete changes, methods of large group moderation are used. Subgroups are formed, the results of which are presented to the others. One form of presentation is the "vernissage". The work process and the results of each group are usually shown graphically on pin boards and the walls are presented in different stations like in a "gallery". The participants in the groups then wander from one station to another and admire the results. Each station is supervised by a member of the responsible group who answers questions to the vernissage visitors and explains the background.

Web links

Commons : Vernissage  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Vernissage  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations