A giclee (zhee-CLAY) is an individually produced, high-resolution, high-fidelity reproduction done on a special large format printer. Giclees are produced from digital scans of existing artwork. Also, since many artists now produce only digital art, there is no "original" that can be hung on a wall. Giclees solve that problem, while creating a whole new vibrant medium for art.
Giclees can be printed on any number of media, from canvas to watercolor paper to transparent acetates. Giclees are superior to traditional lithography in several ways. The colors are brighter, last longer, and are so high-resolution that they are virtually continuous tone, rather than tiny dots. The range, or "gamut" of color for giclees is far beyond that of lithography.
Lithography uses tiny dots of four colors--cyan, magenta, yellow and black (approximate colors shown) Lithography uses tiny dots of four colors--cyan, magenta, yellow and black--to fool the eye into seeing various hues and shades. Colors are "created" by printing different size dots of these four colors.
Giclees use six colors--light cyan, cyan, light magenta, magenta, yellow and black (approximate colors shown)Giclees use inkjet technology, but far more sophisticated than your desktop printer. The process employs six colors--light cyan, cyan, light magenta, magenta, yellow and black--of lightfast inks and finer, more numerous, and replaceable printheads resulting in a wider color gamut, and the ability to use various media to print on. The ink is sprayed onto the page, actually mixing the inks on the page to create true colors.
Giclees were originally developed as a proofing system for lithograph printing presses, but it became apparent that the presses were having a hard time matching the quality and color of the giclee proofs. They evolved into the new darlings of the art world. They are coveted by collectors, and desired by galleries because they don't have to be produced in huge quantities with their large layout of capital and storage.