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What is a gicle'e print or reproduction?

THE DEFINITION: Gicle'e [zhee-klay] - The French word "gicl'ee" is a feminine noun that means a spray or a spurt of liquid. The word may have been derived from the French verb "gicler" meaning "to squirt".

THE TERM: The term "gicle'e print" connotes an elevation in printmaking technology. Images are generated from high resolution digital scans and printed with archival quality inks onto various substrates including canvas, fine art, and photo-based paper. The gicle'e printing process provides better color accuracy than other means of reproduction.

THE PROCESS: Gicle'e prints are created typically using professional 8- color to 12-color ink jet printers. Among the manufacturers of these printers are vanguards such as Epson, MacDermid Colorspan, and Hewlett-Packard. These modem technology printers are capable of producing incredibly detailed prints for both the fine art and photographic markets. Gicle'e prints are sometimes mistakenly referred to as Iris prints, which are 4 color ink-jet prints from a printer pioneered in the late 1970s by Iris Graphics.

THE ADVANTAGES: Gicle'e prints are advantageous to artists who do not find it feasible to mass produce their work, but want to reproduce their art as needed, or on demand. Once an image is digitally archived, additional reproductions can be made with minimal effort and reasonable cost. The prohibitive up-front cost of mass production for an edition is eliminated. Archived files will not deteriorate in quality as negatives and films inherently do. Another tremendous advantage of gicle'e printing is that digital images can be reproduced at almost any size and onto various media, giving the artist the ability to customize prints for a specific client.

THE QUALITY: The quality of the gicle'e print rivals traditional silver-halide and gelatin printing processes and is commonly found in museums, art galleries, and photographic galleries.

THE MARKET: Numerous examples of gicle'e prints can be found in New York City at the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modem Art as a valuable art form. Many galleries around the World feature Gicle'e prints as the choice for limited edition prints.