What is a giclée, anyway?

February 19, 2017


Simply put, a giclée is a reproduction of a painting, or photo, done using (hopefully) a really good inkjet printer. It is sometimes also called a “fine art reproduction”, and there are debates about the origin of the word, as well as its pronunciation…with something like “zhee-klay” being the common English pronunciation. It can be made on canvas, paper, metal, or whatever surface the artist imagines and can make compatible with the printing technology. A key point is that it is a one-at-a-time reproduction process, not a mass production of the same image (like, for example, a poster).


I prefer to number mine, so that you know that you will have one of a limited number in a series. This balances unique-ness with affordability. And, to be honest, giclées can be pretty incredible in their accuracy, even to the extent that a group of artists standing around a piece can easily disagree on whether it is an original or a giclée (been there!). However, in the interest of full disclosure, you might be able to tell more easily with my work than that of some painters because I tend to use texture in my originals, and giclée is flat. I can always share more images with you to help you decide what you’d like and/or compare your choices.