[ver-nuh-sahzh; French ver-nee-sazh]

noun, plural ver·nis·sages [ver-nuh-sah-zhiz; French ver-nee-sazh] /ˌvɛr nəˈsɑ ʒɪz; French vɛr niˈsaʒ/.

Also called varnishing day. the day before the opening of an art exhibition traditionally reserved for the artist to varnish the paintings.
a reception at a gallery for an artist whose show is about to open to the public.

Origin of vernissage

1910–15; < French: literally, a varnishing, touching up (of paintings). See varnish, -age Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for vernissage

Historical Examples of vernissage

  • The spring came at last, and with it vernissage at the Salon.

  • You can't imagine how impatient I was to get back in time for vernissage.

  • We had not heard of his arrival until we ran across him at the Vernissage in the New Salon.


    Elizabeth Robins Pennell

  • Ledoyen's has attained a particular celebrity as the restaurant where every one lunches on the vernissage day of the Salon.

  • By ten o'clock the night of the "Vernissage" all his acquaintances and intimates in Paris had brought him their felicitations.

    Fairfax and His Pride

    Marie Van Vorst

British Dictionary definitions for vernissage



a preview or the opening or first day of an exhibition of paintings
another term for varnishing day

Word Origin for vernissage

French, from vernis varnish
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012