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The word "Giclee" (zhee-clay) is French and means a spray or a spurt of liquid- possibly derived from the French verb "gicler" which means, "to squirt".

Giclees were originally developed as a proofing system for lithograph printing presses, but it became apparent that the presses were having a hard time matching the quality and color of the giclee proofs.

The Giclee prints are individually produced on a special large format printer and are superior to traditional lithography in several ways. The range of color for giclees is far beyond that of lithography.

Lithography uses four colors-cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Colors are "created" by printing different size dots of these four colors to fool the eye into seeing various hues and shades.

Giclees use inkjet technology that is far more sophisticated than your desktop printer. The process uses six colors-light cyan, cyan, light magenta, magenta, yellow and black. The ink is sprayed onto the page, actually mixing the inks on the page to create true colors.

The Giclee printing process provides better color accuracy than other means of reproduction. In addition, the colors are brighter, last longer, and are so high-resolution that they are virtually continuous tone, rather than tiny dots. Images are generated from high resolution digital scans and printed with archival quality inks onto various substrates including canvas, fine art and photo-base paper.

The quality of the giclee print rivals traditional printing processes and is commonly found in museums, art galleries, and photographic galleries.

2005 Southwestern Images