Giclee Quality

by Victoria Landis on August 30, 2010

How in the world, when you go to buy art giclées, do you know what great quality is versus poor quality?

First, if you’re not familiar with what a giclée is, click here and you will find an explanation. 

I found out the hard (read: expensive) way what great looked like.  Wanting to offer my customers only the finest quality, I checked out several companies that made canvas prints.  I asked for recommendations, then references.  Talked to companies outside South Florida, too.  Thought I’d dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s.

You can spot the poor quality giclées.  Trust me, you can.  The cheaper canvas’s surface tends to be rougher and uneven.  Are you familiar with slubbed silk like Dupioni?  In that type silk, the slubs or disruptions are supposed to be there.  They are not supposed to be in canvas for fine art.  The colors in the inexpensive ones look a bit washed out and can be splotchy in areas.  Over time, their colors will fade like old posters.  These low-quality copies usually sell for a very low price and for good reason.  They are made with poor quality materials with little or no oversight.  But if all you want is something cheap to take up space on your wall, go for it.

The first company (company A) I chose showed me examples of other art prints they’d done, and they looked okay to me.  The reproductions, when compared side-by-side with their corresponding original canvas paintings, didn’t look exactly like the originals, but close.  I’d seen several companies’ work by that time and surmised that this was as good as giclées got.

I contracted with company A to reproduce four of my oil paintings.  Thank heaven I didn’t give them more.  I wasn’t thrilled with the results, but as long as anyone else didn’t see them against the originals, they were fine.

As it turned out, those copies were only pretty good.  A new acquaintance gave me the name of company B.  They used the highest-quality archival ink and archival canvas and the best printers.  They took more time fussing over every square inch making sure the colors and clarity were as true as the technology allowed.  I had him re-photograph my paintings and print new giclées.

When I saw the new set next to the old set, I wanted to cry.  There was no comparison.  The new ones were light-years better than what I’d had before.  The colors absolutely ‘popped’, just like my originals.  They were a ‘wow’!  I have all my giclées made by company B now, and I have actually received thank-you notes from my customers because they were so happy with the finished product.

Price should be an indicator, but not the only factor, in determining the quality of what you buy.  In my quest, I’ve seen pricey bad quality, pricey medium quality, and really expensive medium and great quality.  My online art gallery prices are less than a lot of sites I’ve researched, but nowhere near the low prices coming out of the Chinese slap it on a canvas as fast as we can mills.  The production company charges me by the square inch, but they’re so worth it.

I hope this helped you in your quest to purchase fine art giclées.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Gregg Brickman September 3, 2010 at 5:59 pm

Vicki, I had no idea you were blogging about your art. As the proud owner of one of your giclee pieces, I can attest to the fact the color pops.


Vicki McClellan September 6, 2010 at 7:25 am

I have never seen such dynamic Giclee, that are fabulous quality. I appreciate all the information you shared. As noted the quality is superior to the majority I have seen prior. Your workis in a league by itself.


Cathy Lewis-Nathan September 7, 2010 at 8:00 am

Thank you for clarifying what really makes the difference in Giclees.
Your artwork is beautiful. The depth of your colors deserve the best in a giclee for everyone to share in your vision.


Jill Levy September 13, 2010 at 9:25 am

WOW…your paintings are wonderful, they really make me smile, and the Colors,oh those Colors !! Thank you for seeing to every detail to ensure that these beautiful works of art will continue to look this vibrant for many years to come.


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