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About Giclée Printing

The first point to be clear on is that Giclée is a process not brand or a product. When a print is created using the Giclée process, it is often referred to as a Giclée print.


Giclée (zhee-klay) - The French word "giclée" is a feminine noun that means a spray or a spurt of liquid. The word may have been derived from the French verb "gicler" meaning "to squirt".

Giclée Print

The term "Giclée print" connotes an elevation in printmaking technology. Images are generated from high resolution digital scans and printed with archival quality inks onto various substrates including canvas, fine art, and photo-base paper. The Giclée printing process provides better color accuracy than other means of reproduction. Giclée is an exciting new medium for both artists and photographers because of its unparalleled quality, longevity and the desirability of printing-on-demand. Whether producing an original, enhancing an image or reproducing original art, the Giclée process will render an image of exceptional clarity. Giclée prints will exceed your greatest expectations.

The Giclée Process

Giclée prints are created typically using professional 8-Color to 12-Color continuous tone ink-jet printers. These modern technology printers are capable of producing incredibly detailed prints for both the fine art and photographic markets. Giclée prints are sometimes mistakenly referred to as Iris prints, which are 4-Color ink-jet prints from a printer pioneered in the late 1970s by Iris Graphics.


Quality: The quality of the Giclée print rivals traditional silver-halide and gelatin printing processes and is commonly found in museums, art galleries, and photographic galleries. Producing a Giclée print is a slow and meticulous process which requires the skill of an artist to create museum quality prints.

Print-on-Demand: Giclée prints are advantageous to artists who do not find it feasible to mass produce their work, but want to reproduce their art as needed, or on-demand. Once an image is digitally archived, additional reproductions can be made with minimal effort and reasonable cost. The prohibitive up-front cost of mass production for an edition is eliminated. Archived files will not deteriorate in quality as negatives and film inherently does. Another tremendous advantage of Giclée printing is that digital images can be reproduced to almost any size and onto various media, giving the artist the ability to customize prints for a specific client. 

Longevity: One important element that distinguishes Giclées from other print methods is the attention to archival materials and practices. Today's Giclée prints can be created using pigmented inks and acid free 100% cotton papers that combine for a stable lifetime of 75 years or more.

The State of the Market

Numerous examples of Giclée prints can be found in New York City at the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Chelsea Galleries. Giclée prints are widely accepted at museums and galleries. Many museums in the United States and abroad have either mounted exhibitions of Giclée prints or purchased prints for their permanent collections. These include: the Metropolitan Museum of Art ( New York), the Guggenheim ( New York), The Museum of Fine Art ( Boston), The Philadelphia Museum, and The Smithsonian Institute.

Additionally, many distinguished photographers and artists, among them: Andrew Wyeth, Jamie Wyeth, Joyce Tennison, Peter Ralston, John Paul Caponigro, Hans Neleman, Raymond Meeks, Dennis Schultz, Peter Nelson and Richard Avedon produce works that are Giclée printed. Recent auctions of Giclée prints have fetched $10,800 for Annie Leibovitz, $9,600 for Chuck Close, and $22,800 for Wolfgang Tillmans (April 23/24 2004, Photographs, New York, Phillips de Pury & Company.)