Giclée (pronounced zhee-clay) is a term created by printmaker Jack Duganne in 1991 to refer to digitally-reproduced fine art prints. Giclée is based on the French verb “gicler” which means to squirt or spray a liquid, and Mr. Duganne appropriated the word to describe the type of prints his studio was making on large format printers of the day. Giclée has since then come to mean any high resolution inkjet print produced on large format printers from a digitally generated file.
The reason for the association with such high quality is the association and use of such large format format printers with fade-resistant, archival inks; pigment and solvent based, as well as archival substrates primarily produced on super-high quality Epson printers along with various other large-format printers. These printers use the Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Key (Black) or CMYK color process but may have multiple variations of each color based on the CcMmYK adding lighter versions of cyan and magenta to improve color accuracy. This increases the apparent resolution and color gamut and allows smoother gradient transitions. A wide variety of material substrates are available, including various textures and finishes such as matte photo paper, watercolor paper, pure cotton or poly cotton canvas, and textured vinyl.
Giclée fine art printing provides a luminosity and brilliance that represents the artist’s original artwork better than any fine art reproduction technique available today. Combined with the finest quality canvas and inks, giclée fine art reproductions rival original artwork in beauty and detail.
Fine art giclée prints have become the print method of choice for professional photographers, artists, publishers of fine art, and museums who demand high quality fine art reproductions. Prominent art museums such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Guggenheim, Smithsonian Institute, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have hosted exhibitions featuring fine art giclée prints.