Before getting in to the specifics of giclee printing, let’s start with pronunciation. I have actually heard it pronounced a few different ways since getting into the art industry. I’ve found that in the U.S. – and since we live here we’re following suit – it’s commonly pronounced jee-klay. But our friends in Europe claim we are mispronouncing it; asserting the proper pronunciation is zhee-klay. Considering the fact giclee is derived from the French word gicleur, meaning jet or nozzle, they may have some credibility.
Regardless of pronunciation, the term refers to a digitally-produced, high-resolution reproduction of an original work of art. A digital scan or photograph is taken of the existing artwork, which is then individually printed on canvas or fine art paper using a special large-format ink-jet printer. This printmaking process uses tiny droplets of archival pigmented ink to create prints that cannot be duplicated by other printing techniques. Because there is no visible dot screen pattern, the resulting image has all the subtle tonalities of the original art. Thus, a giclee is considered the closest thing you can get to the original.
Open Edition vs. Limited Edition
The “edition type” of a giclee essentially refers the number of prints that have been, or will be created. An open edition giclee will be mass-produced resulting in an unlimited number of prints out there. It’s still a fine art piece, just lacks value and rarity compared to its counterpart. A limited edition giclee carries an edition size, which is typically determined by the artist. A finite number will be produced garnering more value as availability decreases. Once the edition sells out, no more will ever be printed. Limited editions will typically be numbered, such as 1/99, and may be signed or hand-embellished by the artist.
Hand-embellishment or Highlighted
The artist’s presence can be extended if he or she decides to hand-embellish each individual giclee. If a print is embellished – or highlighted – it means the artist has added texture and dimension by applying paint or clear gels to areas of the artwork. This not only brings the giclee closer to the original, but adds value with the artist having handled each piece. Hand-embellishment will almost always only be associated with limited edition runs.
Distribution and Price Point
Giclees allow artists to cast a much wider net in distributing their art and provides collectors a more accessible price-point when compared to the original. Typically, giclee prints will cost at most 1/4 the price of the original art; oftentimes even less than that. That price may vary based off factors such as prominence of the artist, hand-embellishment, print size, open or limited edition, and edition size.
About Gallery Forty-Two
Past and present meet to create an immersive and captivating experience in this stunning Indianapolis art gallery. Offering more than three thousand square-feet of gallery and event space, our new renovation honors both the legacy of historical architecture and the fine art traditions of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Gallery Forty-Two is committed to providing the discerning art collector an excellent source of artworks that combine the brilliance of inspiration with the spirit of antiquity.