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Giclee, pronounced, zhee-clay or gee-clay is a French term meaning to spray or squirt. There are no visible dot screen patterns in a giclee print, which retains all of the colors and tones of the original fine art painting. The inkjet printer that a giclee print is produced from is a large format printer (not like the small desktop inkjet printers).
Images from original paintings are created from high resolution digital scans. Giclee printers use special light-fast inks, which ensure that the prints can last and stay true to color for over 25 years without noticeable fading, but you must keep them out of the sunlight to prevent fading! The painting is scanned directly on a large drum scanner suitable for flexible images (on paper that bends and not illustration board or canvas stretcher frames). If the image is too large for the scanner, a transparency must be taken of the art work and then scanned.
Archival quality pigmented inks are sprayed onto substrates such as museum quality fine art paper that is made of 100% cotton fibers. The paper is lignin-free, acid-free and chlorine-free. Other surfaces used are canvas and photo quality paper.
The life of a giclee print depends upon several things such as what type of ink is used on the substrate (watercolor paper, canvas, or quality photo papers). Other important factor’s in determining the life of the giclee is the environment in which you hang it and what kind of lighting surrounds your print, for instance, florescence or natural lighting. All of these variables add to the life expectancy of the giclee print.
After the scan is created, you can order as many giclee prints as you want since it usually is not feasible to mass produce work, which can be very costly. There is no need to order hundreds or even thousands because the original image has already been scanned and saved onto the computer for future use. Additional reproductions of your digital image can be made at any time, reproduced to almost any size, and onto different types of substrates. The great advantage over off-set printing, called print-on-demand (what they call it when you order a print from Fine Art America), is that you do not have to keep a large inventory, just order your giclee prints as needed!
Fine art giclee prints are excellent quality and have long lightfast properties, which will ensure an enduring life span of the print. Giclee printing provides excellent color accuracy and is usually a much better way to reproduce fine art work.
Here is a painting I created called Color Rhythms (dolphins) a gouache (opaque watercolor) painting that can be reproduced as a giclee print (in various sizes and prices) from my online gallery, Dee Van Houten Fine Art.