The "Giclee" (pronounced 'zhee-clay',
a French term meaning 'spray of ink') printmaking
method was originally developed in 1989 with
the introduction of the Iris digital printer.
In this process, a fine stream of ink, more
than four million droplets per second, is sprayed
onto archival art paper or canvas.
Each piece of paper or canvas is hand mounted
onto a drum which rotates during printing. The
effect is similar to an airbrush technique,
but the Giclee droplets are over 35 times finer.
The process of printing the Giclee can be a
long one, and can take several hours to an entire
day to produce one fine art print. Because no
screens are used, the Giclee fine art prints
have a higher resolution than lithographs, resulting
in stronger contrast and richer colour saturation.
Testing of the inks, in combination with the
fine art mediums used, has shown that these
art prints last longer than those produced from
traditional offset lithography. Archivability of up to 100 years can be expected according to accelerated aging tests.
Giclee fine art prints have been shown in exhibitions
and purchased for permanent collections in museums
and galleries throughout the world, including
the Louvre Museum in Paris, the Metropolitan
Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Modern
Art, the Chelsea Galleriesand and The Smithsonian.
Recent auctions of giclee prints have fetched
$10,800 for Annie Leibovitz, $9,600 for Chuck
Close, and $22,800 for Wolfgang Tillmans (April
23/24 2004, Photographs, New York, Phillips
de Pury & Company.)