What is a Giclée?

Giclée – pronounced “zhee-clay” is French for “that which is sprayed,” is the term commonly used for the world’s most advanced digital fine art printmaking processes. Giclée prints can be original art works generated with a computer, multiple originals based on art work (created with or without a computer) made with the giclée process in mind, or high quality reproductions of original art work.

Most of the country’s giclée machines, including four of the six operated by Hunter Editions (where ours are printed), are manufactured by the Massachusetts-based Iris Graphics, and are capable of reproducing paintings, photographs and illustrations with astounding accuracy. Iris giclée printers use saturated, water-based archival inks to produce a combination of 512 chromatic changes, with more than three million possible colors. Prints can be made on most absorbent media, from paper and canvas to silk and leather, on sizes up to 35 x 47 inches. Iris giclée prints boast an apparent 1800 d.p.i. (dots per inch) visual resolution with no “digital signature,” a level of clarity such that even artists can have a hard time telling the original from the copy.

Also in use at Hunter Editions are the Roland giclée printers, which they use primarily for canvas and photobase printing. The Roland printers use six highly stable color pigments, compared to four color dyes used by the Iris giclée printer, offering permanence characteristics of 100+ years and an extended tonal range. Using roll stock, the Roland printers can produce prints up to 52″ x 180″.