George Snead: To Giclee or not to Giclee… That is the Question
October 28, 2014
The word “giclee” in French has many connotations, but in the art world has come to mean a high-resolution ink-jet print that can be applied to many substrates, including paper and canvas. When first introduced, I resisted them like the plague. The very idea of being able to have the “print” in any size I wanted—with any degree of embellishment— was anathema to my snobbish eyes.
I have come around. Think of all of the works on paper that you may have collected over the years. Some were original. Others were “limited edition lithographs.” A lithograph is another high-resolution process by which an original image is transferred to paper. We have sold these for years, the lithographs signed and numbered by the artist. Affordable, yet “real” in that they bear the artists signature—and his or her approval of their reproduction.
For many years I hung a pair of figurative works under glass in our living room. They looked like original works on paper in either gauche or watercolor. We were the only ones who knew they were prints. We didn’t care. We loved the works, had no idea how to get in touch with the artist—and left them there for years until we found original engravings that we liked better.
We are very selective with the giclees we purchase. Number one, we have to like the artist. We prefer giclees on canvas, as opposed to paper. We also like them to be hand embellished by the artists. They use acrylic or oil and build up or paint over certain areas of the print to give it a textured, original look. We have three large, similar 48 inch square works of art on our showroom floor. I ask clients to stand back, look at all three and tell me which is original. One is a plain giclee, one is a hand-embellished giclee and the last is an original oil. From a short distance away, no one can tell. However, the price points are quite different.
Unless you have unlimited funds to spend on artwork or are willing to live with blank walls until you find that perfect, original work of art—limited edition giclees or lithographs are a great way to expand your collection.
George Snead is the owner of the Wakefield Design Center. This to –the –trade showroom is located in Stamford, Connecticut. The showroom represents hundreds of furniture, fabric, lighting, and accessory lines.