It recently dawned on me that there is a practice that I partake in that seems second nature to me, but perhaps people don’t have a clear cut idea about.
Whenever I finish a piece of artwork, it is my hope that someone will love it as much as I loved creating it and they will purchase it, take it home (or work), and enjoy the way it enhances their atmosphere! When someone does purchase a piece of my artwork, I am left with a memory of creating that work. The memory of how the images were a struggle to get…just right. Or the challenge I overcame of colors that at first seemed like a great idea but later….had to be completely changed. But…just memories.
The solution to just having those memories? Giclee prints! After starting my professional career, I discovered the wonderful world of digital scanning for printing. Now my artwork can be printed from a postage stamp to a billboard – all without losing one brushstroke detail or color quality.
Whenever people visit my studio, I often direct them to the prints of current and previous artwork that has sold. Sometimes they are not aware of exactly what giclee prints are or why they can seem pricey. So, I began to write up something to explain to my patrons about giclee prints and thought I should do the same on this blog. Afterall, that was the sole purpose of the blog to begin with!
What is a Giclee print?
If you have ever seen the term “Giclee” print and thought it seemed expensive for a copy of an artwork, you’re right! But there is a good reason for that. I will try to explain.
Giclee (pronounced zhee-klay) is a French term meaning “spray of liquid”. It demonstrates an evolution of printmaking technology that benefits artists who don’t necessarily wish to mass produce their artwork, but would like to sell copies or archive an image of their artwork.
The original artwork is captured via a high resolution scan and then printed with archival quality inks onto surfaces such as canvas or high quality papers. The giclee printing process provides more optimum details from the artwork and color accuracy than other mediums of reproduction.
Giclee prints are typically created using professional 8-color to 12-color ink jet printers. They can also be referred to as Iris prints.
Once an image is digitally scanned by a professional artwork printer, it can often be printed smaller or much larger and on various surfaces to customize for clients. Digital scanning also allows for better archival filing as the digital images will not deteriorate as negatives and film usually do.
Numerous examples of giclee prints can be found in museums such as the Metropolitan Museum or MOMA. Recent auctions of giclee prints have fetched $10,800 for Annie Liebovitz or $9,600 for Chuck Close.
When you purchase a giclee print of artwork, you are purchasing the artist’s hiring of a reputable digital printer, the materials on which it is printed, and the matting/framing of the giclee print as well. Giclee prints should be matted with acid free matboard to be sure the entire piece maintains its archival quality.
Hope that helps explain things!