About Giclee Prints
The Definition : Giclee (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".
The Term : The term "giclee 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 giclee printing process provides better
color accuracy than other means of reproduction.
The Process : Giclee prints are created typically using professional 8-Color to 12-Color ink-jet
printers. Among the manufacturers of these printers are vanguards such as Epson, MacDermid Colorspan,
& Hewlett-Packard. These modern technology printers are capable of producing incredibly
detailed prints for both the fine art and photographic markets. Giclee prints are sometimes
referred to as Iris prints, which are 4-Color ink-jet prints from a printer pioneered in the late
1970s by Iris Graphics.
The Advantages : Giclee 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 do.
Another tremendous advantage of giclee 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.
The Quality : The quality of the giclee
print rivals traditional silver-halide and gelatin printing processes and is
commonly found in museums, art galleries, and photographic galleries.
The Market : Numerous
examples of giclee prints can be found in New York City at the Metropolitan
Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Chelsea Galleries. Recent auctions of giclee
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.)
About Digital Pigment Prints
The term "pigment print" is used generally for any type of printed image
that uses strictly pigments. Pigment printing processes have been utilized since
the middle of the 19th century. The image stability of pigment printing is superior
to that of any other method of printing, including traditional silver-halide or
Digital inkjet printing has seen a surge in the use of the pigment ink as ink sets
have been refined to be compatible with the latest in high-resolution inkjet technology.
Where archival dye-based ink sets exhibit excellent color gamut, pigment inks excel
in permanence. A dye is molecularly soluble in its vehicle, but pigment is not.
Pigment particles tend to be large enough to embed into the receiving substrate
making them water-resistant. The particulate nature of pigment inks ensures their
archival superiority. A particle of pigment is less susceptible to destructive environmental
elements than a dye molecule.
Many digital papers have coatings which enhance color gamut. However, these delicate
coatings are susceptible to scuffing and scratching, and diminish the archival properties
of the print. Prints made with coated substrates are not considered true digital
Considering the above factors, we define a digital pigment print, sometimes
referred to as a pigmented paper print, as a digital image rendered onto an uncoated, natural fiber substrate with pigment inks.
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