What does the word Giclee mean?
The contemporary Giclee has become a valuable part of the limited edition fine art world. "Giclee"
is a French term which means to spray ink. The pronunciation of giclee is "zhee-clay."
Essentially, a giclee print is the reproduction of an original work of art (created by conventional
means, such as painting, drawing, etc.) using a highly specialized inkjet printer.
How are Giclees Created?
Giclees have a higher resolution than offset lithographs and the dynamic color range is greater than
that of a serigraph. Giclees are created by a method of printing in which the image is digitally enhanced on a computer to
match the original fine art. A high-resolution inkjet printer, which sprays millions of microscopic droplets of ink onto
various substrates to create an image with smooth tonal gradation. These unique jets are able to vary the width of the ink
stream to as small as 1/100th the width of human hair. In the art world this is generally regarded as the highest quality
Despite the fact that artists were experimenting with this medium as far back as the late 1970s, fine
art inkjet printing emerged as an art form in the early 1990s. The term giclee was originally only applied to a very specific
form of printing: the output from the Iris inkjet printer (more specifically the Iris 3024, 3047, or 3047G).Today, giclee
can refer to any digital fine art canvas print output on a quality inkjet printer. Such well-known brands as Epson, MacDermid
Colorspan and Hewlett Packard have high end 6 – 12 color printers that are used to make fine
The entire process of production to achieve the final fine art giclee is an artistic endeavor within
itself, requiring a great deal of patience and skill. A professional quality giclee starts with a high resolution digital
photograph. This file must then be color corrected and adjusted to match the original artwork.
Today, images reproduced using the Giclee Process
are of such a high quality that they can be found on display at museums around the world, including The Louvre, The Metropolitan
Museum of Art and the Guggenheim.
What makes a Giclee valuable?
As far as artistic processes are concerned, the giclee process is very new, and subsequently consumers
may have questions about how valuable giclees are. Here are some of the reasons why an art buyer should seriously consider
purchasing a giclee.
When the production
quality and the materials used are of excellent standards, the giclee can last a long time. If produced with the very best
ink and canvas available, it is estimated that a giclee can remain colorfast for 200 years or more.
The giclee printing
process now provides better color accuracy than almost any other means of reproduction. Made from high resolution photographs,
giclees offer impressive vibrancy and clarity.
of below 400 have proven to have excellent resale value in the art market. Once the edition is sold out, most giclees will
continue to increase in value as the image will be unavailable anywhere else.
If an artist’s
original work is marketable, there is no reason why high quality giclees of his or her work will not be the same. Giclees
are a wonderful cost effective alternative and are often indistinguishable from the original painting.
With the technology
gaining a strong base in the art world, giclees will become an increasingly popular option for artists. Fine art giclee works
are already in museums and this trend is set to continue as our digital culture becomes even more advanced.
an investment in art, it is preferable to invest in and own a quality limited edition giclee from a talented artist than
an original work of lesser quality. Also, there are many situations in which a limited edition giclee could be the first choice.
These include: vacation homes; gifts, or display in executive offices, or any other environment in which you wish to maintain
a certain quality standard, but in which an original work would not be practical, secure or cost effective.