Giclee [zhee-clay] is a French term meaning a 'squirt or spray of ink'. This process utilizes sophisticated printing techniques whereby an industrial 8-Color to 12-Color inkjet printer sprays a staggering four million droplets of ink per second onto archival fine art paper or canvas. Requiring highly sophisticated printers and special pigment inks for an extremely wide color gamut, this blend of fine art and state-of-the-art technology produces exceptional fine art prints. Giclee prints are usually coated with a high quality gloss or varnish to minimize abrasion and increase resistance to image fading. Additionally, protective coatings protect expensive prints against moisture.
Giclee prints render deep, saturated colors and retain minute detail, subtle tints and blends. The quality of the giclee print rivals traditional silver-halide and gelatin printing processes and is commonly found in museums, art galleries, and photographic galleries.
The giclee printing process provides better color accuracy than other means of reproduction. The prints may be hand embellished by the artist using paint, ink and gold foil stamping for a mixed media effect. Giclee prints are sometimes mistakenly referred to as Iris prints, which are 4-Color ink-jet prints from a printer pioneered in the late 1970s by Iris Graphics.
Numerous examples of giclee prints can be found in New York City at the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Chelsea Galleries. Recent auctions of giclee prints have fetched as much as $20,000.