At Masters at Art, we specialize in giclèe printing, but we often get the question either via email or at one of our in-person events asking what’s special about a giclèe. In this post, we’ll set out to explain what you’re purchasing when you purchase a giclèe.
Let’s start with the most honest part of a giclèe, it’s not an original work. A giclèe is a print produced by a specialized printer that uses an expanded pigment palette to create high-contrast, high-definition prints. The general process is similar to how an inkjet printer works, but an inkjet is to a giclèe printer as brandy is to cognac (or sparkling wine is to champagne, whichever you prefer). Even though both work by applying ink to paper, a basic inkjet will never create the depth a giclèe printer can.
So, what are the perks of buying a giclèe? Well, to start, they’re cheaper than buying an original piece of art and, as long as they are being printed by a top-of-the-line printer, from a detailed scan of the original, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference. For photographers, a giclèe is the absolute best way to reproduce the pictures they take as the expanded amount of pigments (typically six, opposed to the three found in a common inkjet). Giclèe are also a fantastic source for artists who create their work on a digital platform as they don’t have to worry about scan resolution, only print resolution.
Because a giclèe is a reproduction and not an original work, often someone who loves a piece of art can get a copy in original-level quality but pay a fraction of the price. This allows for people who have a love of art to put stunning masterpieces on their walls without having to pay thousands of dollars.
Is there a downside? The downside to a giclèe comes from shady salespeople, which is something that advancements in the technology can’t eliminate. Since a giclèe bears such a close resemblance to an original piece, some art dealers will try to pass off a giclèe as the original and with an inflated price. This unscrupulous practice leads many to overpay for a copy of a beautiful piece of art while thinking they are getting something one-of-a-kind. An art dealer with integrity will always inform you they are selling a giclèe and not an original. If you’re not sure what you’re buying, ask. If you’re not confident the dealer is being honest, buy elsewhere.
At Masters at Art, we enjoy a great relationship with the artists we represent and are proud to use the latest model giclèe printers to create the maximum value for our customers. We work with many artists from world-class photographers like Doug Cavanah to three-dimensional and mixed media artists like Michael Beaulieu. If you’re interested in working with Masters at Art and having us represent you, but don’t have a strong reputation in the art world, check out our contests page and see how to submit your work. Already have a solid reputation and want to know what we can do for you? Reach out to us via email with a link to your portfolio.