Giclée Prints & Their History

Giclée Prints & Their History

Simply put, a giclée is a digital inkjet or Iris print. Since there’s no standardization as to what qualifies as a giclée, the word is interchangeable with “digital print”, “inkjet print” or “Iris print” even though the word “giclée” carries the connotation of something that is higher quality.

The word came about in 1991 when printmaker Jack Duganne wanted something expensive sounding to call his prints which would give them the air of having more value than a typical “inkjet print.” The word giclée is derived from the french word gicler, the French verb for “to spray, spout or squirt.” Jack was unaware at the time that the word giclée was also French slang for ejaculation.

The first commercial printer used for fine-art production was the Iris printer, which debuted in 1985. It wasn’t originally intended for us as a fine-art printer and was adapted to this purpose by David Coons and Graham Nash in the late 1980’s and into the 1990’s. The Iris remained the predominant fine-art printer for nearly 20 years until 2010 when companies such as Epson and Canon were able to produce models which were both much cheaper and utilized archival inks.

Giclée prints are typically on paper, though canvas, aluminum and vinyl prints produced on an Iris or inkjet printer can still be referred to as giclée prints.

Today, Static Medium primarily uses Epson’s newest commercial fine-art printer; the Epson SureColor P10000, which was preceded by the Epson Stylus Pro 9900.

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