Karen LeGault ~Fine Art Blog

September 23, 2015

What is a Giclee?

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Karen LeGault @ 22:02
What is a Giclee?
I am often approached by fair goers who are baffled by the term “Giclee”.
Before 18 years ago prints were very expensive to obtain. They were often printed via lithography using flat stones and multiple layers of ink that each required separate stones to be prepared with the color separations. A run of many had to be printed at one time, meaning the artist or dealer had to store a lot of prints and that a “run” was quite expensive.

The word Giclee means “to spray”. The paper or canvas is fed under a giant drum. A line of ink nozzles the width of the paper sprays droplets of ink as the paper is turned under the line of nozzles.

I had my first Giclee prints made in the year 2001. I traveled to a state of the art facility in Manhattan Beach to a place called Nash Editions. Think Nash of “Crosbie, Stills and Nash, who was a photographer besides a musician. He started the business to make reproductions of his photographs. They were perfectionists in the budding field. Artists from all over the world went there to have their reproductions made.

After a few years the field evolved and there were excellent and much less expensive prints to be had in local giclee shops.

The cost to me as an artist for a print was as much as what I can now sell my prints for.  Yes, the price has come down substantially.

A Giclee is essentially (best case scenario) a really really good photo of a painting that must be perfectly evenly lit for the true color temperature of the painting. There can’t be any shiny spots from glare or reflections. There can’t be uneven light across the surface. The whole piece needs to be square at the corners, straight at the edges and match as closely as possible to the original art.

The print maker is usually adept at photoshop to make any corrections and must also understand the machines that they use to print with.

I have over thirty colors of paint that I work with to create my paintings.
Matching the color of the original painting using the limitations of the inks is an art in itself.

Giclees make it possible to provide high quality images to people who either can’t afford, or prefer not to collect, original fine art.

I use the service of Tony Molatore/ Berkeley Giclee.

These are his Technical Specifications:
This giclee print was created to high standards of reproduction with materials tested by the Fine Arts Trade Guild to resist fading and discoloration in excess of seventy-five years. Berkeley Giclee prints are produced on an Epson 9900 printer utilizing the eleven color Height Dynamic Range inkset which results in a wide color gamut, excellent color saturation and incredible sharpness.

The conservation grade paper has a weight of 310 grams per square meter and a caliper of 22 mils. Composed of one-hundred percent cotton, the paper is acid and lignin free. It has a ISO Brightness factor of 95.6.
As with all fine art, for maximum longevity, this print should not be displayed in direct sunlight or subject to extremes of temperature or humidity.

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