The question may seem logical and simple to answer but do we really know the worth of Giclee prints? First of all, we need to define what exactly a Giclee print is and then apply the knowledge to the present market for all forms of art media.
I'm not speaking from the point-of-view of a marketing consultant who has to apply formulae for his presentation, when marketing a product: I'm simply talking about how we - the public, perceive art for arts' sake and make our own judgments about what we consider artistic and worthy of purchase?
From my own perspective, I feel that there is a misconception in some quarters of the 'community' that Giclee prints are original works of art? This may well be true for certain types of digital art - e.g., where the artist actually produces artwork on his computer and then uses inkjet technology to print to paper or canvas.
For the most part, however, Giclee printing is a means of mass-production of original works of art and it is an understandable solution for artists in helping them make an acceptable living - especially during a recession. The artist therefore, must endeavour to maintain his integrity and reputation by ensuring that the giclee reproduction edition for each original work of art (be it watercolour, oil, acrylic etc) is kept to a minimum (the top limit being 800 copies or less) and sold at a 'realistic' price.
The very fact that modern technology now allows us to create en-masse almost indistinguishable copies (from the original) in bespoke sizes etc, inevitably means lower costs, faster turnaround and the ability to sell cheaply (just check the numerous sites selling canvas prints). The quality of Giclee prints is not in doubt - the technology now produces such fine inkjet spray and under such controlled environment that it takes a trained eye to see the difference.
The important point that we need to grasp - is that, by and large, a Giclee print is a reproduction of an original work of art; and that when we are buying a giclee print, we know in advance that this is the case. From the artist's point-of-view, he must make quite clear, whether or not his giclee print is an original work - or simply a signed and numbered copy of one of his original works.
There is value in a Giclee reproduction, but this has to be tempered by the ability to mass-produce and by setting a value that has some bearing to the sale value of an original work. With the knowledge to hand, the potential buyer can make an informed decision about a giclee print and then decide whether the artists reproduction print is still a product worthy of hanging in the hallway etc.
Cliff is a writer, artist, videographer and entertainer. After building his own intaglio etching press, Cliff produced a short video about the procedure; and from that came a twenty-three page ebook which is currently available free on his website - http://www.art-domain.co.uk.
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