Rubini Gallery of Fine Art

Rubini Gallery
1833 Araby Dr. #31
Suite 1015
Palm Springs, CA
92264 USA
(800) 454-0443
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The Birth of Giclee

Because all of our limited editions are being reproduced only as giclees, we thought it is important that you know a little more about what a giclee print is and where it came from.

Please note that giclee prints are the finest quality reproduction that can be made today. The colors and detail are much closer to those of the original paintings than any lithograph can produce. The main difference between lithography and giclee printing is that giclee prints are done one at a time using a continuos flow ink system that has a vastly smaller drop size. The drop size of a typical giclee print is around 3 picoliters. 3 picoliters can fit in one red blood cell.

Beyond that, six colors are employed rather than the standard 4 CMYK thereby expanding the color gamut to beyond what is possible using a standard printing press. Yet another way in which giclee printing is superior is the absence of color pollution. Color pollution occurs when the rubber blanket used in offset printing gets dirtied with the other colors in the press. Giclee prints are made by squirting ink onto a paper and no blanket ever comes in contact with the print. So, keeping all that in mind, here is how the giclee was born.

A watercolor artist named Diane Bartz asked a master print maker named Jack Duganne to come up with a word that explained how he produced her watercolors with his Iris brand large format inkjet printer. He dug through his old French vocabulary books and found "jet d'encre" which is French for jet print but thought that it was a bit too sterile. He then thought about how his printer was structurally producing the prints and came up with "gicleur," the word for nozzle. What a nozzle does is spray or "gicler" and to make that verb a noun would be "giclee," and that is from where it came.

This word is now used almost exclusively to describe high quality continuous tone large format prints. These prints are often sprayed with an artist's fixative that provides additional moisture protection as well as increased resistance to UV radiation. Care should be taken however, with handling by keeping it away from sunlight and moisture.

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