Monday, June 12, 2006

Can you Say Giclee (zhee-klay)?

Acropolis from Hotel Terrace - Giclee print

I first came across the phenomenon of giclee prints while interviewing artist George Dombek in his nifty home in Northwest Arkansas. He is the only person I have ever known who grew wheat in his front yard instead of grass. It was beautiful by the way. He also had a tricycle on his roof, and a tree in his living room. I liked him right off the bat.

George’s work is very, very controlled watercolor. I was familiar with his work long before I ever met him because he had painted some soft-to-the-touch-as-a-baby’s-behind pebbles from Pebble Beach in Door County, Wis., and I knew the minute I saw his painting where the stones were from and I wanted to meet this amazing artist. What was particularly amazing to me was that he would show me an original and then the giclee of the work, and I was hard pressed to tell the difference.

A giclee print is a product of the digital age. It is a high-resoltuion reproduction done on a large-format inkjet printer using as many as 12 archival colors. This process provides better color accuracy than other means of reproduction. The process starts with a digital scan of an original artwork or a digital file original if the artist is working in the digital format to begin with. Giclees can be printed on a variety of media including canvas, watercolor paper and transparent acetates. The colors are brighter and last longer than lithographs because the inks are sprayed on in a continuous tone.

Giclees were actually developed as a proofing system for lithograph printing presses, but it quickly became evident they were superior in quality to the lithographs themselves. Even though giclees are not originals, they are fast becoming exceedingly popular with collectors, and some have been auctioned off in the five-digit price range.

We have a number of incredible giclees on our site by artists Priscilla Humay, George Wittenberg, Lucy Arnold, Ellen Hobgood and Laurin McCracken. The prices are all a very good value. I own several of them myself, and plan to pass them down to future generations. You’ve got to see them to believe!—Ruth Mitchell

(c) 2006 - Ruth Mitchell - all rights reserved

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