a word about giclees

Every printmaker will tell you, a giclee is NOT a print.  Okay, technically, it is a print, a print from a very expensive copy machine usually onto very high quality paper.  Many digital artists create giclee prints as a means to offer their work in a hardcopy form.  I like this.  Museums and galleries will offer giclee prints by artists who are no longer affordable by the masses. I like this too.


gicleeBut when an artist, someone who does acrylics, or oils, etc. copies their work using a giclee printer and calls it an art print, don’t be fooled.  This has no more value than that poster you bought at the museum, or for that matter, the copy of your kids’ art that you made to send off to the grandparents.  Sure it is more expensive than heading down to Kinko’s but just like any print job, the more you make, the cheaper it is, so it makes sense for an artist to print lots. The cost is typcially measured by the square foot (yeah, lots of artists charge by the square foot. Ahem). The artist can make more copies – they are an “unlimited” edition.  The only item of real value is the original.  Which the artist still has and even if they’ve sold it, they have the scanned image of it which is used to create the giclee. 


A printmaker pulls a print by hand.  We create the plate, we prepare the ink, we buy expensive paper, we either hand-press the piece or run it through a press.  There are mistakes, you can print 10 and have one come out exactly as planned.  On a good night, if the print gods are with you, you can do better.


If you choose to buy a giclee, remember that it is just that, a photocopy, and pay accordingly.  Some artists, like this guy, get it; compare the prices of his original art with his giclee print. Others, like this, are just trying to fool you.  Did you notice you “can order this painting in LARGER or smaller sizes”.  Yeah, Matisse used to say that too.  Don’t be fooled.


phew.  I really had to get that off my chest.

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