What is a Giclee Print?
Giclee (pronounced g-clay) reproductions are museum quality reproductions of art printed on either canvas, watercolor paper, metal, or poster paper. The ink used to print these works is a special UV resistant ink so the works are guaranteed not to fade for 100 years, provided they aren’t hung in direct sunlight, of course. As with any other fine art reproduction, they should be protected from exposure to direct sunlight.
I’ve had giclee reproductions made of many pieces of my own art and Don has trouble telling them apart from the originals. The technological advances in ink jet printers, ink, digital imaging, and software programs has given rise to this new type of reproduction. Giclees printed on canvas should be sealed with a water resistant sealant so the inks aren’t damaged and the sealant also protects them from dust and other surface damage. Many printing companies seal giclees printed on other surface types as well. They are normally framed like you would an original; canvas can be framed without glass, gallery wrap canvases don’t need a frame provided the sides are finished; watercolor reproductions can be matted and framed as usual; poster prints can be framed like a poster.
Many artists, including myself, do limited editions of giclee reproductions and these are similar to what you’ve seen with lithographic reproductions. Each print in the limited edition run is numbered and may be signed by the artist and they may also come with a Certificate of Authenticity.
Many art galleries either specialize in giclee reproductions, since they can be sold at a lower cost than the original, or they have giclees mixed in with the originals. It can be difficult to tell a giclee from an original if the artist sealed the painting themselves and matched the brush strokes with the image. I encourage buyers to view giclees and then view originals and train their eye to see the subtle differences. If in doubt, ask and open-ended question to the gallery representative. Like any reproduction, a giclee reproduction should be disclosed by the seller so that the purchaser knows exactly what they are getting.
The good news is that a high quality giclee is so good that it can be hard to tell the difference!
I hope this article has been helpful!