A proof reserved by the artist for his own records or use. This proof is not included in the numbered edition.
In a limited edition issuance of a print, it is the first few prints produced that are available to the artist for quality control inspection or the artist's own use. Originally, the first prints were of the best quality; in modern production, all prints are essentially equal, so there is no quality advantage to obtaining an artist's proof. However, artist's proof have a smaller edition size than the total run, and can range from just a few to perhaps 100 total prints being identified as "artist's proof".
An impression of a work different from the stated edition. Pulled during the creative process as an example of a stage in development, it may be called a trial proof, proof, artist's proof (A.P.), edition proof, bon a tirer, hors commerce (H.C..), or epreuve d'artiste. There is often a cachet to these prints, which may be numbered with Roman numerals or annotated. See state.