Giclee (pronounced G-clay or Zhee-clay internationally)
30 years ago, Giclee Printing change the Art World so dramatically that it is being hailed as one of the most significant developments in the history of art. Giclee printing was developed in the late 1980's. The printing equipment used to make Giclee prints are not much different than your home or office ink jet printer. Giclee printers have modified jets that spray the ink onto a substrate such as paper or canvas. The word Giclee is a derivative of the French word Giclear, which translates as jet. The word Giclee was actually chosen to differentiate this type of printing from other forms of printing.
By this point you're probably asking, "So what's the big deal?"
The big deal is this. Giclee printing machines make printing a single print affordable. Until the development of this printing process most printing required minimums of 500 strikes or prints. The set up time on these large lithograph printers was often hours. The large presses were and still are very expensive. In addition, lithograph presses run very fast, so they burn up hundreds of sheets of paper or canvas before the press is printing the colors you want. A typical press run of 500 pieces on canvas before Giclee printing, it would have cost $12,000 to $20,000. As you can see, Publishing their own art was expensive and 500 pieces of a single image was a tremendous amount for an artist to sell. It is for those reasons artist did not print much of their own work.
Imagine. Thousands of very creative artist unable to afford to print and distribute their artwork. That meant you, the potential buyer, was limited to a selection of art being produced by large publishing houses that had established distribution channels and the money to print whatever they viewed as salable. Giclee printing brought in a revolutionary new era. Now an artist could print one single print on their own and they could sell that print themselves. Giclee printing allowed millions of new images to become available.
Giclee Printing change the Art World! Today's art market is dramatically different than the one of 30 years ago. Consumers now have millions of more choices than they ever had before and at prices that are far below the average original painting cost.