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Le Vernissage

The history of the word 'Vernissage' (aka Opening, Private View, etc):
'Vernissage' literally means "varnishing."
At official exhibitions, such as the Royal Academy summer exhibition, artists, would give finishing touches to their works by varnishing them (J M W Turner was known for making significant changes to works on varnishing day while his fellow academicians were simply varnishing). The custom of patrons and the élite of visiting the academies during the varnishing day prior to the formal opening of the exhibition gave rise to the tradition of celebrating the completion of an art work or a series of art works with friends and sponsors.

"Vernissage." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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