Giclée printing is a computerized, digital
process that has revolutionized the quality and resolution of
the reproduction of fine art. Often termed IRIS giclée, after
the original digital printer used for the process, it is contrasted
with lithographic reproductions in that the dot patterns in
giclée prints are not visible.
Because there are no screens
involved, giclée prints have a higher resolution than offset
lithographs. Giclée prints so closely match
the artist’s original work, that the prints are often mistaken
for the originals. Both the quality and the durability of the
prints is equal to the original specifications. These prints
can be made on heavy, high quality watercolor paper, such as
140# Arches cold press or hot press.
To have an image reproduced in this process requires
the skills of a good photographer, a drum scanner, and thousands
of dollars for the special machinery that produces the image.
The image is stored in the computer and sent to the special
printer that uses water-based organic inks. A series of tiny
nozzles spray the paper, which is mounted on a rotating drum,
with a fine stream of ink at more than four million droplets
per second. Since information controlling the jets comes directly
from a computer, no printing film or plates are involved. The
inks are sprayed as droplets rather than dots, with each droplet
four times smaller than a human hair; each droplet bleeds into
the paper creating more of a continuous tone than dot patterns.
Once the printing is completed, which may take up to one hour,
a special ultra violet stabilizer coating is applied to protect
it from any discoloration. This new art reproduction form has
been widely accepted by museums and galleries. For this reason,
it is not unusual to see the words “museum quality” assigned
to a limited edition giclée print.