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What Is a Giclee Fine Art Print?

Amanda R. Bell
Amanda R. Bell

A giclee fine art print is a high-end reproduction of a hand-painted piece of art or photograph that can be produced on any type of paper. A rotating drum scanner copies and stores the original piece where the negatives can remain safely for use in making additional reproductions in the future, making them relatively cost-effective. These duplications are created with a specialized printer that does not utilize the standard dotting method of printing, providing a near-exact replica of the original piece using colorfast ink.

Many consider a giclee fine art print to be the second best option to owning an original piece of artwork. Museums all over the world use giclee prints of world-renowned, famous art pieces in galleries. For modern artists, this reproduction style allows them to print high-quality copies of their original work on demand, reducing waste and providing a more cost-effective way to do business with buyers.

Woman painting
Woman painting

In order to create a giclee fine art print, the original piece must first be scanned. The most popular scanner used is a drum scanner, which rotates the original piece over a large drum while small lasers copy the art. Unlike other scanners that typically only pick up the basic colors and shapes in a piece, this detailed method allows the scanner to collect even the slightest variations in color and texture, providing a more detailed finished product. Once the art is scanned, the negatives can be used to reproduce the same exact piece as many times as necessary.

A specialized printer is used to create copies of the art after it is scanned. Unlike standard ink jet printers that typically spray ink through a fine screen to produce dots, the system used for a giclee fine art print uses hundreds of tiny nozzles to spray ink directly onto the medium. This allows the printer to recreate a vast majority of the nuances in color found in original artwork. The printer is also capable of spraying layers of ink, which allows it to reproduce the texture of hand-painted pieces of art.

The ink used to create a giclee fine art print is also unique. When kept out of direct sunlight, the ink is able to remain colorfast from between 25 and 100 years. This level of quality and durability is one of many reasons that this type of reproduction is popular among museums and private collectors.

A giclee fine art print can be produced on any medium. For collectors and high-end artists, printing on canvas is often the most popular option. The art can also be reproduced on fine art paper, photo, and cotton paper, all popular choices for original artwork reproductions.

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