Galerie Lieve Hemel Editions

Giclée Prints

  What is a giclée print?
A giclée print - "giclée" being the past participle of the French verb "gicler", which means "to drip" or "to run" - is produced using an ink jet printer to print a digital record that is generated by scanning a slide or original or taking a digital photograph. The giclée printer is a jazzed up version of the good old ink jet printer that is found in offices all over the world. A straightforward reproduction of the original can be made, or the image can be doctored in terms of colour, brightness and/or size, to the point where elements of the original image can be edited out altogether, subject to the artist's approval, it goes without saying.

Original vs. Rights
When a painting is sold, the transaction does not include the © Copyright, which continues to rest with the artist unless he or she explicitly sells it in a separate transaction. This is pretty straightforward, I'm sure you'll agree. However, some art lovers are averse to reproductions in the form of posters or the like as they consider these to detract from the exclusivity of owning the original work of art. This can hardly be anything other than an emotional response: the more famous a painting is, the more it tends to be reproduced and the more money it fetches at auction, i.e. the more desirable ownership would appear to be.
Be this as it may, as glorious as a reproduction may turn out, the original is by definition better looking. The giclée print takes on a life of its own, so to speak, in that nine times out of ten the dimensions, substrate and measures of colour will - either deliberately or by necessity - turn out different than those of the original. There is a reasonable degree of resemblance between a giclée print and the original, but no matter how delighted someone may be with his or her print, it's highly unlikely that he or she would not prefer having the original work of art on their wall … and as the original can by definition only have a single owner, why would the enthusiasm of all those others detract from this privilege?

Sweeping statements are made all the time about colour fastness and yet nobody knows exactly what to expect over time, there being considerable room for wishful thinking in this area. Of course ink manufacturers are doing everything they can to produce ink grades that can withstand the influence of light, similarly to oil and acrylic paints. A choice in favour of a reliable ink manufacturer ensures that a concerted effort has been devoted to creating the product. Sophisticated manufacturing techniques and advanced testing methods definitely help bring about a better end result. Where it is stated here that the ink is estimated to remain colourfast for 50 years, what this means is that based on the current state of the art and research methods, it is reasonably certain that the colours will remain true for the next 50 years or so. This is not an ironclad guarantee, mind you, in that the colours could start fading in less than 50 years from now, or it could take them considerably longer to start changing. If you have any doubt, go to for a down-to-earth second opinion.

Giclée printers are capable of printing on thick paper grades with structured or smooth surfaces, or on canvas. The advantage of a canvas print is that it can be framed without using glass. The quality of the canvas used, much as it tends to be overlooked, is of crucial importance. We only use a top-quality grade of Canadian painter's canvas for our range of giclée prints.

Owing to the technique used in giclée printing, which involves minuscule ink droplets being sprayed on to the carrier, the end result remains responsive to water. It therefore makes sense to seal the print as soon as it has been stretched. Our giclée prints are given their first coat of varnish immediately following printing, with a second coat being applied as soon as stretching has been completed.

In order to ensure that no giclée print of ours could ever be mistaken for an original work of art - even though an expert would instantly spot the difference - the largest giclée print of a painting will always be an inch or so smaller than the original.

Signed and numbered
A choice in favour of a limited edition is inspired by a desire for exclusivity. The gallery's reputation and that of the artist ensure the correct numbering while the artist's signature vouches for the origin of the product.

Please don't hesitate to contact us via E-mail if you have any further queries.