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Why I Hate Giclees

Technology has made leaps and bounds since the first print was inked and pressed. The computer has revolutionized the process into what is now commonly called a Giclee print. Basically, it is the exact same process when you take a photograph, down load it into your computer and print it out on your ink jet printer. The printers, soft ware program, inks and paper that are used are higher in quality, but the process is the same. These have also been called Iris prints because that was the name of the type of printer that was first used. About 98% of these prints are reproductive. They can be printed on paper, canvas, material, & practically anything else. Artist will “enhance” these prints by using paint to high light certain areas and they then sign and number them.

Little Harvest Mouse, watercolored lithograph - John James Audubon

Little Harvest Mouse, watercolored lithograph – John James Audubon

So why do I hate them? It’s not the print that I hate so much as the insinuation that they are fine art prints. A fine art print is an etching, engraving, lithograph (not an offset lithograph), wood cut, etc in which the artist created their design on a matrix and not as a copy of something. A giclee is not any different medium whether an artist has them printed on paper or for a shower curtain, the originality and artist involvement is the same. It breaks my heart that a collector will pay thousands of dollars for a giclee believing that they are acquiring an original work of fine art. Yes, giclees are in editions, but with computer technology, all that has to be done is change the size and what it is printed on and another edition is created.

Be aware that original lithographs by many well known artists, such as Picasso and Chagall, are being offered on Ebay and elsewhere as originals when they are really color copies or giclee prints. It is very easy for someone to take an original to an office store and have a copy made.

If you decide that you want a giclee, just be aware of what it truly is. I realize that you can enjoy a cz as easily as a diamond, but hopefully you will not pay the same price or expect a cz to be a diamond. It’s the same concept.

Seaside Art Gallery specializes in original works of art, not reproductions.