Giclee is NOT an original fine art print!!!

March 23, 2009

I came across this description of giclee as Original Art Print yet again and it made me really cross, because this is a pile of nonsense! Giclee isn’t, never was and never will be an original art, the same way as if Picasso made a doodle on the paper and faxed the image to you, you wouldn’t own an original Picasso!

What is a Giclee Original Print?

A Giclee (pronounced Zhee-Clay) is a French phrase coined in the 17th Century who’s meaning translates close to “fine spray” in English. The term is currently used regarding the latest form of high quality original art print production methodology using high end types of permanent pigment spray printers to produce original archival quality art prints. Meaning, you scan a picture, stick the file into the machine and print it! High quality reproduction – yes. Original art – no!

The technique involves the medium, such as 250 pound watercolor paper or canvas we print on, being carefully moved while infinitely small pixels of vibrant, rich archival inks are sprayed at a very high speed onto the surface. The result is an amazingly smooth and consistent image, a Museum Quality Fine Art Original Print. – You’ve read it – a printer prints it SLOWLY and with Archival Quality Inks on paper or canvas. Which part of it can’t you do on your own printer, provided it’s high enough quality, and provided you picked up a better paper or EVEN canvas for the task? How much different do you think it is going to be from a signed poster?

Even though the technique used for producing a Giclee is close to that used for ink-jet printers, there are only a few printers actually capable of producing a true Giclee and they are the Iris, the Epson 2000P, 2200P, Pro 7600, Pro 9600, & Pro 10600, or Roland printers. – Yeeeeaaah! Do you recognize these names? These are all very famous artists, producing “High Quality Original Art”! Consistently.

After printing a special UV protectant agen is applied that provides an invisible top coat. It will not yellow and will resist cracking. Each original photographic print is inspected and goes through several quality control checks before the artist gives his final approval and signs & names the final print. – Read it carefully – it is all true. One thing I don’t get – where the term “original art print” is supposed to stick in?

Giclee prints can be found in the following notable collections–

  • The Louvre Museum in Paris
  • The Smithsonian
  • The British Museum
  • The Washington Post collection
  • The New York Public Library
  • The Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • The New York Metropolitan Museum
  • The National Art Museum
  • The San Francisco Museum of Art
  • The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art

Oh, yes! Downstairs, in the shop, next to the cafe area, where you stock up on greeting cards and posters. Did you just say, you just bought an original giclee art print? How much did you pay for it? Oh, boy… Hang on to it. Who knows, maybe the artist is the next Picasso… You can then cut the signature out and try to shift it on some art and memorabilia auction or something… 

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