Giclee is the name used to identify a fine art digital print just like serigraph is the name for a fine art silkscreen print. One of, if not the greatest artists of the 20th Century, Pablo Picasso never produced a giclee print although he produced a lot of serigraph prints. His serigraph prints are available from just under $100 up to $7000 plus, the difference being the top dollar prints have been hand signed by the master.
Throughout his career Picasso made art in a variety of disciplines. He was a painter, sculptor, ceramicist and a prolific print maker producing not only serigraphs but etchings, lithographs, heliogravures (photographic engravings) and linogravures (linocuts). Had he had access to the technology it is a safe bet Picasso would have produced giclees and those that carry a signature made by his hand would be fetching the big bucks today.
As the 21st century unfolds, more and more artists are embracing digital technology in the production of their art. Painters now create digital files of their work as record and to produce giclee prints. A growing number of artists are using computers to create their art. If you want to hang one of these digital artist’s work on your wall, it will no doubt be a print and if you want it to last more than a few years, it will be a giclee.
Historically prints have been printed in open and closed editions. Open editions were and often still are printed in the 1000s on cheap paper whilst closed editions, more commonly known as limited editions, are printed on high quality art papers using methods that could only produce a finite number of prints. The limited number was due to either the printing plate be it a lithographic stone, a sheet of carved lino or an etched copper plate degrading to the extent that no more decent prints could be produced or the artist’s pocket running out of depth.
With the improvements in digital printing and the associated introduction of print on demand, the fine art printing industry has been turned on its head. The distinction between and open and closed editions has become decided blurred if not non-existent. An infinite number of prints on high quality papers and canvasses with a life expectancy that rivals if not surpass traditional printing methods can be produced one at a time, as and when required.
As with the Picasso serigraphs, the giclee prints produced today that will be more than wall décor are those with the piece of graffiti in the lower right corner placed there by the fair hand of the artist.
Henry Bateman is an artist/photographer, his work can be seen at http://www.pissedpoet pics .