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Giclée prints are fine art digital photographs printed with an inkjet printer. The term was originated in the early 1990s by the printmaker Jack Duganne who wanted to reduce the negative association with computer-generated prints. Duganne coined the term when working for Nash Editions, a fine art digital printmaking studio founded in 1991 by Graham Nash of the band Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
Nash founded the studio after looking for a high quality-printing outlet for his photographs, and has worked to promote digital printing methods as a fine art medium. Originally meant to describe prints made with the Iris printer favored by Nash and Duganne, the term now applies to any photograph printed by a modern inkjet machine. Many artists make exclusive use of giclée printing to create their editions. Improvement in technology has diminished the conservation concerns of many artists, as giclée prints are designed to be durable and fade resistant. Printers use high quality pigment based inks that are considered archival.
Graham Nash's giclée prints of rock n' roll subjects, printed on an Iris inkjet printer, have been collected in several books and sold publicly at auction
The term giclée was based on the French words gicleur and gicler, which reference nozzles and spraying. Though the term now applies inkjet prints produced by any type of machine, it originated as a reference to the continuous ink flow of the Iris printer
The highest quality giclées are made using a pigmented, rather than a dye-based ink, where the color particles do not dissolve completely. The resulting images have lasting color quality as the particles settle within