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What is a Giclee?

23 Dec

WHAT IS A GICLEE?

This more recent then lithography method of making higher quality prints is gaining very high standard popularity.

Why is a Giclee more modern and higher quality then a lithograph?

A giclee (zhee-CLAY) is an individually produced, high-resolution, high-fidelity reproduction done on a special large format printer. Giclees are produced from digital scans of existing artwork. Also, since many artists now produce only digital art, there is no “original” that can be hung on a wall. Giclees solve that problem, while creating a whole new vibrant medium for art.

Giclees can be printed on any number of media, from canvas to watercolor paper to transparent acetates. Giclees are superior to traditional lithography in several ways. The colors are brighter, last longer, and are so high-resolution that they are virtually continuous tone, rather than tiny dots. The range, or “gamut” of color for giclees is far beyond that of lithography, and details are crisper.

Lithography uses tiny dots of four colors–cyan, magenta, yellow and black–to fool the eye into seeing various hues and shades. Colors are “created” by printing different size dots of these four colors.

Giclees use inkjet technology, but far more sophisticated than your desktop printer. The process employs six colors–light cyan, cyan, light magenta, magenta, yellow and black–of lightfast, pigmented inks and finer, more numerous, and replaceable printheads resulting in a wider color gamut, and the ability to use various media to print on. The ink is sprayed onto the page, actually mixing the color on the page to create true shades and hues.

They are priced midway between original art and regular limited edition lithographs. Limited edition litho prints are usually produced in editions of 500-1000 or more, all at once; but giclees rarely exceed 50-100 reproductions, one at a time.

Giclees were originally developed as a proofing system for lithograph printing presses, but it became apparent that the presses were having a hard time delivering the quality and color of the giclee proofs. They evolved into the new darlings of the art world. They are coveted by collectors for their fidelity and quality, and desired by galleries because they don’t have to be produced in huge quantities with their large layout of capital and storage.

In addition, Giclees are produced directly from a digital file, saving generations of detail-robbing negatives and printing plates, as with traditional printing.

See our Giclee Collection

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