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What is a Giclee?

Judy Ragagli


Platinum Swirl Barbie, Giclee on Canvas.  Displayed in a home in Palm Springs, CA designed by Joel Dessaules.  Photographed by Scott Van Dyke.



What is a Giclee and what does the word Giclee mean?

A Giclee is the reproduction of an original work of art generated from a digital image printed with the very finest archival inks. Giclee is a French term that means to spray ink. The correct pronunciation of giclee is “zhee-clay,” coined by fine art printmaker Jack Duganne in the early 1990s and based on the French noun for “that which is sprayed by a nozzle.” A Giclee is the highest quality fine art print available on the market and provides precise color accuracy than other means of reproductions. Giclee prints render deeply saturated colors and have a beautiful painterly quality that retains minute detail, subtle tints and blends. Brilliant color and rich texture have made Giclee prints the reproduction choice for museums, artists, galleries, and collectors. The Barbie Giclees are printed only from my original oil paintings and is a great way to own a beautiful piece of art with a limited budget. (To give you an idea of the Giclee printing quality, see photos below of a few Barbie Giclee close-ups).

How are Giclees created?

To produce the Barbie Giclees on Canvas, the original oil painting is photographed with ultra-high-resolution digital equipment and then digitized on the computer to match the original oil. This process is used to reproduce the image on the canvas. The technology used to create the prints is very expensive and the output is very slow, one or two at a time. The cornerstone of the Giclee process is the enhanced digital inkjet printers which have been specifically modified for fine art precision. The large format printers use a small spraying device that matches the color precisely. The printers use a continuous tone technology in which infinitely small pixels of color are capable of rendering an amazingly smooth and consistent image. The substrate to be printed on is affixed to a drum and as the drum rotates at a high speed, individual droplets of colors are sprayed on to the surface at a rate of 4-5 million droplets per second. Once completed, the Giclee is comprised of almost 20 billion droplets of ink, each one measuring no more than 15 microns in diameter. This renders an amazingly smooth and consistent image true to the original oil painting and the result is a beautiful and vivid reproduction. The process is then completed by applying a UV light retardant and light stabilizer coating.



Close-up of "Black Magic Barbie" Giclee on Canvas.



Close-up of "Platinum Swirl Barbie" Giclee on Canvas.



Close-up of "Tickled Pink Barbie" Giclee on Canvas.

What happens next?

The Giclee on Canvas is then stretched on 1 1/2" wood stretcher bars and the Giclee is “gallery wrapped” around the 1 1/2” stretcher bars. The Giclee is wired and ready to hang. You do not have to have it framed. Each Giclee is signed and numbered on the back. See photo below.


Side-vew of "Gala Abend Barbie" Giclee on Canvas.  The sides are gallery wrapped around 1 1/2" stretcher bars.



This is the back of "Black Magic Barbie" Giclee on Canvas.  The completed Giclee on Canvas is wired and ready to hang.  The Giclee is then signed and numbered on the back.

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