Why Are Giclee Prints So Expensive?

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Why Are Giclee Prints So Expensive?

Please note: In this article, I’ll be writing giclee without the accent, but you’ll also see this word spelled with an accent on the e: giclée.

It’s a myth that getting top-quality giclee prints will be expensive. And I’ll admit that some companies do charge quite a bit (maybe too much) for their giclee prints.

But, high-quality giclee prints don’t actually have to be that expensive, as you’ll see below in the section: Where Is the Cheapest Place To Buy Giclée Prints?

Here are some other factors that will increase the price (and value) of giclee prints:

  • Premium Materials: Uses high-quality inkjet printers and materials (archival papers/canvas and inks) that will make your art print look amazing and last for decades.
  • Limited editions: If the giclee print is a limited edition (like they sell on Minted or Saatchi Art), this means there are only so many prints of the original artwork that will be made. This increases the value of the giclee print.
  • Well-Known Artist: If you’re buying a giclee print of artwork created by a well-known artist, you’ll be paying more than a giclee print made from the work of an emerging artist.
  • Popularity: If the artwork is featured in the news, books, museums, catalogs, websites, or other media, the price will go up.
  • The Story: If there’s a really cool story behind the artwork (like a famous person used to own it or was featured in a TV show or play), then a giclee print will probably go up in price.

What Is the Difference Between a Giclee and a Print?

One of the main reasons giclee prints are more expensive than regulart art prints is that it uses premium materials that will make your giclee print look amazing and last for decades.

Typically, giclees follow these standards:

  • Inkjet Printer: Standard inkjet prints are made using dye-based inks. Giclées are made using pigment-based inks.
  • High Resolution and Color: They have the sharpest detail and highest resolution, displaying a full-color spectrum. Giclées capture every shade of an original work.
  • Archival Paper/Canvas: The paper or canvas (or surface) used must be acid-free and of archival quality to ensure longevity.

The standards mentioned above are what make giclées high-quality prints that are very resistant to fading and yellowing.

How Much Should a Giclee Print Cost?

There really isn’t a clear-cut answer to this question because there are so many factors that will increase or decrease the price of a giclee print.

But, I find that if I’m buying directly from emerging artists, I’ll usually pay something between $25 to $150 USD for normal-sized giclee prints. Check out the section (below) on the cheapest places to buy top-quality art prints.

Are Giclee Prints Worth It?

You might hear some people say that giclees aren’t worth it. But I totally disagree! I think they’re a worthy investment.

Here are the top reasons why I think giclee prints are valuable:

  1. Giclees have the support of fine art experts. They are collected and displayed by famous museums from around the world, like the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum.
  2. They are very accurate, archival prints. Sometimes, it’s very difficult to distinguish between giclees and the original artwork.
  3. It’s not uncommon for limited edition giclee prints to go up in value because of their rarity and high quality. They also become more valuable as the artist becomes more well-known.

If you’re buying art as an investment, I would recommend sticking to limited edition prints since they usually keep or increase their value over time. For more information about this subject, check out my article: What Are Limited Edition Prints?

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Cheapest Places To Buy Top-Quality Giclee Prints?

Here are my favorited places to get the cheapest, high-quality giclee prints.

If I’m looking for more super inexpensive giclee prints, I’ll usually browse through Etsy and Amazon and read the reviews until I find something I like with a 4 or 5-star rating.

Some more of my favorite places to look for giclee prints are iCanvas, Society6, Redbubble, and Inktuitive. These companies are all known to be top-quality producers of giclee prints.

iCanvas and Inktuitive have high-quality prints at discounted prices. Plus, iCanvas has free shipping in the contiguous United States, and Inktuitive has free shipping to most locations around the world!

Another place I like the buy giclee prints is Minted (you can also get custom giclee prints made from a Minted artist). You’ll end up paying slightly more for these giclee prints, but they’re of premium quality and are limited editions, so they’re more valuable than most giclee prints.

And, last but not least, if I’m looking to buy giclee prints as an investment, Saatchi Art is where I go! Just like minted, these giclee prints are usually limited editions, they’re curated by a team of professionals, and are usually more valuable (but a little more expensive) than the giclee prints from the sites mentioned above.

So, go ahead and buy giclee prints, support independent artists, and HAVE FUN shopping!