A Brief History of the Giclée Print


New technologies allow artists to develop unique and exciting ways of creating art. Such is the story behind Giclée prints, also known as canvas paintings. A Giclée is a digital print that is an exact copy of a work of art such as a photograph, painting or drawing. This art work is reproduced using an ink jet printer, often on such mediums as canvas, silk or paper.

In the late 1980s, IRIS printers were the industry standard when it came to pre-press proofing. These printers, also known as ink jets, used a method of spraying various colors of ink onto paper in order to reproduce art work. The proofs that were created could be used to check colors and acquire client approval before a printer started his final print run.

A number of artists began to recognize the qualities unique to these digital prints and to use them in their own artwork. In an attempt to find a name to describe this new medium, it was decided that such terms as “computer generated”, “ink jet” and “digital” were far too mundane for such a creative process. In 1991, Jack Duggane coined the term Giclée, pronounced (zhee-clay), as an appropriately artistic term to describe the process of reproducing photographs and paintings on to canvas and other mediums.

California photographer, Richard Williams, demonstrates his expertise in the Giclée technique with his impressive collection of Northern California landscapes first captured on film and expertly transferred onto canvas prints.