What are so special about Giclees?

30 Sep

Pronounced “zhee-clay”, giclées is a French word meaning “to spray ink,” and is a form high quality(museum quality) reproductions, which involves spraying ink onto museum quality paper, most commonly watercolor paper, canvas and photo-like paper. It is sometimes referred to as the “Iris”, the original machine developed in the 1970s that produced this form of digital fine art printing. Today, it has come to mean an advanced printmaking technology that offers a resolution higher than the conventional lithography print, and with a color range wider than a serigraph. In essence, it combines pigment based inks with high quality archival quality paper to achieve a print of superior quality.


The process involves, first, generating artwork, such as an oil painting on canvas, or images from print sources such as a digital camera or a computer in digital form. Computer image enhancement is used to color correct or adjust the color balance until the most genuine representation of the original painting/image is produced. This representation is transferred electronically to a large format printer and produced individually and not mass produced on huge presses. A state of the art printhead disperses each ink drop in a microscopic fine mist of minute droplets to produce a smooth, continuous tone print.


To give you an idea of exactly how that is possible, picture this: the Fine Art paper or canvas, be it archival watercolor papers, glossy paper, or cotton canvas is attached to a drum that has the capacity to spin at 220 revolution per minute (RPM), where tiny inkjets spray the inks at a speed that can range from 300 dots per inch (dpi) up to 2800 dpi onto the paper, one line at a time, until the image is reproduced on the paper.


What does that mean for color quality? The detail and color vibrancy exceeds conventional printmaking technologies. The wide color ranges and deep pigments make for more accurate prints that are crisp in quality and texture when compared to the original artwork. The archival and long-lasting quality of the print is due to the UV protective coating used in the process, which creates a “fixed image,” which gives fade and color shift resistance for years.


What makes giclées such a great option for you?

  • It offers the same physical properties of an original painting
  • It’s the best in Fine Art Printing- high quality, stable, rarely fades
  • You get fine artwork at a fraction of the price of an original.


Check out our Giclées Collection at Great River Arts!


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