As discussed in previous articles, there are many different types of media that are used to create fine art paintings and prints. One such high quality type of medium used in fine art is the giclée (zhee-clay). The giclee is a fairly new fine art technique which began in the 1980s. Very large high quality ink jet printers are used to create these works of art. Fade resistant high quality ink is squirted or sprayed onto fine art archival paper or canvas to create the artwork, thus this finished product was given the name, giclee, which is French for squirt or spray.
This is just a simplistic description of the giclee, however. There is much more to this unique technique. First, each and every giclee is individually created. There is no such thing as the mass production of giclees, as with other art creation media. Since each giclee is created through the use of a professional inkjet printer, as mentioned above, there are no “dot patterns” as might be found on a lithograph print. The artist has the opportunity to make changes to the painting, whether it is in the image or coloring, with each production of the print until it is to his or her complete satisfaction. The artist can also create a fine art giclee at will, producing it on an “as needed” basis.
Although it is much more expensive to create a giclee than a lithograph, the final print is a very high quality product that has better color with extreme accuracy and detail, rendering a final piece of artwork that can be an exact duplication of the original painting, especially when printed on canvas. One last addition to an original fine art giclee that will add great value to the artwork is any remarquing by the artist. This can be done by any embellishment of the artwork with hand painting directly on the giclee by the artist. Remarquing can also be done with the artist’s original signature on the artwork. For this reason, the giclee is very popular among many of our most famous artists.
The glicee is held in such high esteem in the fine art world that museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City have many giclees hanging on their walls. Giclee prints have also been sold at auction for large sums of money, further validating that this artwork media as one that is considered valuable.
The greatest advantage to the giclee print is in its ability to allow individuals, who cannot afford an original painting by a famous artist, to own that same work of art that is almost identical to the original. Amazingly, some giclees that were created on the highest quality and most expensive can be put side by side with the original and it would take an expert to distinguish the original from the print. This allows art collectors to enjoy the ability to own a famous artist’s painting at a much more affordable price point.
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