The Art of Printing: Giclee

Giclée printing is a term often used to describe high quality and high-resolution inkjet printed fine art images.  While inkjet printing was invented in the 1950's for commercial graphic printing, the term "Giclée" was coined more recently in the 1990s.  Now, what's the difference between the two?  The spelling!  Inkjet and Giclée describe essentially the exact same process however, before the 90's inkjet had never been considered for fine art printing purposes.  In 1991 a man named Jack Duganne began developing a series of fine art prints calling them "Giclée," an adapted French word roughly meaning "to spray," as a way to draw positive attention to the quality of his work and the capabilities of digital printing.

Inside nozzles of an Inkjet printer 

Inside nozzles of an Inkjet printer 

"Arise My Love" by Manuel Nunez One of the first pieces we printed as a Giclée in 1993.

"Arise My Love" by Manuel Nunez

One of the first pieces we printed as a Giclée in 1993.

With the rapid digital and technological advancements of the 80’s and 90’s by companies such as Adobe, HP (Hewlett-Packard), and Apple the possibilities for artists were seemingly endless.  Printing became more efficient, more affordable, and more versatile allowing artists to produce a single print or a full edition of prints in a short period of time with relatively little preparation or waste.  In comparison, more traditional printing methods such as lithography require time consuming preparation including plate making, or screen making in the case of serigraphy, which is often used for only one project before having to be recycled or discarded.  In addition to the speed and efficiency, the Giclée process allowed artists to experiment and print on a number of different substrates including paper, canvas and even aluminum.  The most attractive aspect of Giclée printing to artists is that it’s an extremely accurate and consistent reproduction process so there’s little variation throughout an edition of prints; but the real success of Giclée lies in its quality and longevity as an extremely high resolution, archival print that will stand the test of time with minimal fading or fatiguing.

"Unknown Worker" by Tim Huhn We've been printing Giclée prints of Tim Huhn's artwork for 20 years.

"Unknown Worker" by Tim Huhn

We've been printing Giclée prints of Tim Huhn's artwork for 20 years.

Having opened our gallery in 1984, we've had the pleasure of working with a long list of incredibly talented artists to develop limited edition prints using Lithography, Serigraphy and Giclée.  In 1993 we began printing the first Giclées for our gallery with artist Manuel Nunez.  Over the past 25 years of printing Giclée we've been able to introduce the artwork of world renowned talents such as Tim Huhn and Steve Thomas to our collectors and offer attainable and collectible limited edition Giclée prints.  Due to the efficiency of digital printing we are proud to provide many people who come into the gallery with their very first piece of artwork.  Because of our ability to print high quality, long lasting Giclée prints, their work has been sold and shared around the world.  It is a top priority of ours to ensure that when working with our artists to produce printed editions of their work that they are of the highest quality possible and will last as long as the memories they reflect.