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What are GICLEE Prints on Canvas ?
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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 reproduction available.

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 art giclees.

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.

Limited editions 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.

When considering 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.

Display methods

After the image is printed, the canvas is trimmed to size and glued or stapled to traditional stretcher bars or a wooden panel and displayed in a frame or as a gallery wrap. Some artists will paint on top of the printed image to create a more individual effect. From a collectors standpoint, this creates more value to the artwork, since the artist actually hand finished the piece. It becomes an original, since it will be slightly unique from the other prints in the same edition. 

What is Gallery wrap?

Gallery wrap is a method of stretching an artist's canvas so that the canvas wraps around the sides (Stretcher Bars or strainer bars) and is secured to the back of the wooden frame. The result is the hardware (staples or tacks) used for securing the canvas is not visible on the sides.
This method of stretching and preparing a canvas allows for a frameless presentation of the finished painting.

Some images look better with a frame or were not intended to wrap around, since it would change the proportions of the image content. If that is the case, the image itself is not carried around the sides of the stretcher bars, but the bars are painted a solid color to match the artwork. It is still stapled on the back and could hang with or without a frame.

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canvas folded around the back
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stapled on the back
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hang with or without frame
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