What is Giclée? (Gee-Clay)


As a wildlife artist who creates fine art original paintings that with proper care will last two thousand years, I am very particular about the materials I use. I really care about quality and longevity!

Giclée gives me confidence to create a very high quality fine art limited edition print, reproduced from my original painting, that collectors can enjoy for a lifetime.

- Michael Pape



Giclée refers to a specific type of fine art print reproduction. Digital reproductions, the precursor to Giclées, were originally developed in 1989 as a method of proofing. These types of printers would spray ink onto paper. With the advent of compatible longevity ink sets, this technology was later adapted for fine art printmaking. The French word “gecler” mean, “to spray”, hence the object of the spraying nozzle is the “giclée” (pronounced gee-clay)

State of the art digital technology has made it possible to create an art print that is extremely difficult to distinguish from the original painting. Historically, most fine art reproductions were made with offset presses. These are called lithographs. An offset press produces numerous lithographs per minute. In comparison. A modern giclée printer produces only a few per hour. It is Ironic that better technology has actually taken us further away from the days of mass production as we have returned to a point where taking more time insures the greatest quality.

There are substantial differences between giclée and offset lithograph. Offset lithograph has four colour plates that prints ink at 300 dots per inch (approx.) and one year without noticeable image deterioration (fading and / or paper deterioration.

Giclée fine art prints are more precise than the best traditional printmaking. No film, plates or screens are used. Modern giclée printers spray eight or more colours of ink at 1440 dots per inch using longevity inks sets.

Technology has doubled the colour spectrum that existed with offset lithography, allowing artist to be much more involved with the creation of their giclées. More options available to artist mean that they have more control over getting their giclée reproduction to match the original painting.

Michael Pape Giclées are available on archival acid free watercolor paper and canvas, which provide fine art prints with unsurpassed longevity.

The pigment inks sets used on Michael Pape giclée fine art prints showed in excess of 100 years before any image deterioration could be perceived.

CAUTION: If exposed to direct sunlight and or humidity, image deterioration can accelerate.

Giclée prints are found in the finest galleries. Major museums worldwide archive and display giclées as part of their collections. Included are the Louvre, the Guggenheim, the Smithsonian and New York’s Metropolitan Museum.

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