Giclee Prints, The Truth.

If you have been looking around on internet art sites for any length of time you will have come across Giclee Prints, well what are they and why would you want one of your favorite painting ?
Here we attempt to answer these questions and lay some misleading hype to rest once and for all.

What is giclee? Many Art Printers websites include a definition which says “giclee means to spray”. Well, “giclee” doesn’t mean “to spray”. “Giclee” isn’t an infinitive. “Giclee” is the feminine of a past participle. (Nothing wrong with using it as a substantive, of course.) Is that important, or is that pedantic nitpicking? For understanding how a giclee print is made, or deciding whether you should buy one, the grammar of the word has no direct importance. But it might be useful to know that the person who is supplying your information is probably not very well educated, and probably doesn’t really know much about the product he is selling on his website. That doesn’t prove that he’s going to cheat you, but before you spend a moderate sum on an artwork, you should talk to someone who really knows something about the subject, or start systematically learning something about the subject yourself.

Giclee PrintsSo what is giclee printing, really? Just as they will tell you, giclee printing is ink-jet printing, the same process used by the ink-jet printer hooked up to your computer right now. The cheapest computer printers commonly used today. Does that mean that giclee printing is bad? Not necessarily. Fine art lithography uses essentially the same process as the cheapest mass production printing machines, and fine art etchings and engravings are made by a process which was used until very recently for the cheapest book illustrations. But again, before you buy an artwork, you should understand both what it is and what it isn’t, and what the salesman who is trying to sell it to you is really doing. If giclee and ink-jet printing are the same thing, why do people strain to use the more obscure and foreign-sounding name?For the same reason that they would rather sell you lingerie in a boutique than underwear in a store. They are convinced that they can get you to pay more for lingerie and giclees than for underwear and ink-jet reproductions. They’re probably right. As one artist put it: “I used to make silk screen prints (using the same process used to make t-shirts, or even throwaway paper supermarket banners)…. But when I began calling them ‘serigraphs,’ my prices tripled.”

How long will a giclee print last? Many of the giclee sites claim that a giclee print will last for thirty-five years. Giclee technology hasn’t existed for nearly thirty-five years, so that there’s no way to test such statements directly. Some of the more candid sites explain that these estimates are based on laboratory simulations of aging. Since you don’t have their data, you have to take their word both for the fact that they are presenting their results objectively, despite their financial interest in presenting only one side of the question, and for the fact that their simulations give good information about an untestable reality. However what is never revealed is that in order to achieve anything near the supposed test results the print must be treated with a UV protection barrier coating and because this is a very expensive part of the process, most prints found commercially don’t have this coating, so expect it to start fading very quickly and be prepared to say goodbye to it in a couple of years anyway.

Should you care? Of course you should care, great art is not supposed to be a throw away, in this case fade away item,its supposed to have longevity, classic art is classic now and will be in thousands of years time, its stays classic, that’s one of the reasons we love it.
People buy “serious” art mainly for two reasons, for pleasure and for investment. For pleasure, longevity in scales of tens of years is irrelevant. So forget about buying a print Giclee or any other ,the only true medium that has stood the test of time is Oil Painting and frankly if you cant afford one right now ,then save your money and wait until you can, buying a Giclee print will just be an unsatisfying experience.