What Does Vernissage Mean?

We get a lot of people asking how to say Vernissage and for that matter… what does it mean?
Let’s start with pronunciation. If your’e a linguist, this one’s for you: /vɛːnɪˈsɑːʒ/. Looks a bit tricky? Yeah, it’s not that bad, really! ‘Vernissage’ ends the same way ‘massage’ ends. Ver-niss-age. So what does it mean?


Image Credit: Hugo Michell Gallery Booth, Sydney Contemporary 2017. Photo: Jacquie Manning.

Vernissage is originally a French word meaning ‘varnishing’, as in, varnishing a painting to seal in its colours and protect the painting upon completion. Before an exhibition, artists would invite elite buyers and art critics for an exclusive viewing ahead of the general public while they varnished their final pieces for the show. This exclusive, preview event became known as a ‘Vernissage’. Nowadays it is usually a red carpet, expensive-champagne type affair, where VIPs and paying guests can attend the exclusive event to see works, meet and chat with the artist and purchase works in a calm but festive atmosphere. So what’s the connection to Vernissage Art?

Vernissage Art started life as a fine art gallery on High St in Melbourne’s trendy inner east suburb, Prahran. We held many exhibitions and had many vernissage events too, but the name carried through as a concept rather than event. At Vernissage Art we spend a great deal of time researching our artists and selecting works that we believe uphold our tagline of Original, Collectable, Affordable, meaning our collection always represents gallery-quality works from the artists own hand, yet our prices are within an affordable bracket. It doesn’t matter what your budget is, we have genuine artworks for everyone, and it’s our mission to make everybody feel like that elite buyer, 'champers' in hand browsing in a relaxed manner. Our motto, Art you can buy today to love forever, truly means that - you CAN buy it, whether you click add to cart, or visit Art Money first, or contact us about a lay-by, our artworks are attainable pieces that you will be happy to live with forever to come. So pop something bubbly (no Perignon? Perrier will do!) and have a scroll through our collection - we are certain there is a piece to get excited about, you fabulous VIP!