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What Is Giclee Printing

The term Giclée is somewhat elusive. Many speak and write of the well known stories of its origin, how Graham Nash sent negatives of photos of Joni Mitchell for an upcoming show, which were lost. Contact sheets were all he had left, so being inventive, he produced digital scans from a new state of the art scanner developed by Disney, and printed them on an Iris 3047 high resolution industrial prepress proofing inkjet printer. They were such a success, Graham bought his own Iris printer and created Nash Editions. Jack Duganne, working at Nash Editions in early 1990’s as a printmaker, wanted a term that would differentiate these prints from commercial Iris prints used as proofs. He settled on Giclée, based on the French word gicléur, a technical term for a jet or nozzle, and the verb form glacier, to squirt out. Duganne settled on the noun giclée, meaning a spurt of liquid. However accurate the stories may be are of no point of contention here. Giclée is a neologism, describing a newly coined word or expression. Giclée printing is just the progression of print making made by inventive artists. The term has become loosely associated with high quality inkjet printers using pigmented inks on archival substrates, not far from the original use I suppose.