Page 69b35.17 Great Canadian Heritage Discoveries
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More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has preserved.

Fine Art Prints (Giclée) - Originals & Dupes 17

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Why Prints?

Only one person can own an original piece of art. Often the best are very expensive, so only the rich can afford them.

The rest - the vast majority of us; the hard-working, salt-of-the-earth types - have to make do with cheap originals - like Mom paints - or get prints.

Most people have prints, lots of prints. Actually even the rich have prints, because if they love a picture and someone else - or a Museum - has the original, they have to buy a print, say of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, or David's Napoleon, or Tom Thomson's Northern River.

Which is why for scores of years people hung calendars and calendar art in prominent places. But they looked sort of cheap to begin with, and faded quickly in the sunlight.

Photomechanical reproductions were not all that much better, but were the main way of making colour prints for the mass market until recently.

But they had that little grid of dots all over the surface, if you looked too closely. And they were a rather poor approximation of the original. Often quite awful, as you see on many Group of Seven copies.

So, the idea has never been to avoid prints, but to get the best available. Meaning they look like the original.

And in the 21st century that means giclée, a French term meaning "sprayed" to describe how the coloured inks are applied to the print.

And this also means giclée on canvas, which gives a much preferred look of the original oil, to giclée on paper, which is not as durable, and has a smooth surface.

In fact giclèes on canvas are truly stunning looking, the technology of printing has advanced so strongly.

In a word, giclées on canvas are eye-grabbing prints that look to the eye as if they were the original.

Why Giclée Fine Art Canvas Prints - We offer the same High Quality Giclée canvas print technology preferred by modern artists in Britain, the US, and Canada, to make limited edition prints of their finest original works, using fade-resistant, archival quality ink-jet inks, that were first introduced in the 1990s.

Modern giclée inks are said to be resistant to fading for at least 100 years.

Giclée ink-jet printing uses a wide variety of colour cartridges to give the same rich hues and smooth tonal transitions of the original art work.

Far superior to ordinary paper prints - but more expensive - giclée canvases lack the original art work's imperfections, which are digitally removed before printing.

(We also offer more economical giclée paper prints but they are not as durable as canvas, and lack the convincing "punch" that canvas gives to prints of original art.)

Giclée fine art canvas prints allow you to have a fabulous picture that is affordable and virtually impossible to tell from the original, of which only one exists, and might cost tens of thousands of dollars to own.

So giclée canvas prints are the perfect fine art solution for corporate offices, hotel rooms and lobbies, big city homes, larger yachts, rural retreats, or cottages, where they look stunning, but are no real loss if stolen, damaged, or destroyed. You can just order another one. But you cannot replace a lost $20,000 painting, or the money it cost.

Affordable and stunning giclée fine art canvas prints have put an end to the necessity of hanging up cheap looking, and quickly fading, calendar art in homes, cottages, hotels, and places of business.

The Old Fine Art "Print" Technology - Photomechanical Reproductions

Almost all fine art prints today, including the Limited Editions, are still made the way they have been for 100 years, as photomechanical reproductions.

Yep, all the thousands of Group of Seven copies, all the Robert Bateman, Trisha Romance so-called "fine art prints," which have been run off for decades, are only photomechanical reproductions with an autograph added, the only "real" thing about the copies. So you are paying for a real signature only, not a real print. It's a very expensive way to get autographs.

Right hundreds of personally signed Robert Bateman's photomechanical reproductions going for a song at many southern Ontario country auctions. We've seen many of them go for $50 in mint condition with a huge new frame... (We believe that's too much for an autograph.)

Below Group of Seven so called Limited Edition "fine art prints," all photomechanical reproductions, selling by the hundreds, for a song, or less, at countless southern Ontario auctions. The colour renditions, on many of these repros, when you see them, are often perfectly awful, more garish and contrasty than the original. And hey, none of the handwritten signatures on them are by members of the Group who have been dead for decades. All done by a dealer trying to make mass produced stuff look personal.

None are prints. (To see real prints click #10 to 17 on the title bar.)










They are photomechanical reproductions, made exactly the same way as the art put on calendars and postcards, using tiny uniform dots of four basic colours, on a grid that spreads across the page, to fool the eye into thinking you are seeing the actual paint on the page, when you are not.

How do amateurs tell if they're getting cheap photomechanical reproduction postcard or calendar art quality, instead of a real fine art print? Use a loupe, dupe... on these prints, when you are thinking of getting one of these copies at a fine art gallery or auction.

Here's what you'll see, every single time... A uniform grid, a sea of the same size dots, covering the entire surface of the picture.

Detail of a photomechanical reproduction fine art print

99% of the so-called Limited Edition "fine art prints" you will see being sold at high end art galleries, for hundreds, sometimes over 1,000 dollars, are covered with the grid of tiny dots of only four colours mixed together to give you an "approximation" of the real colour of the original picture which was photographed to make the copy.

Compare your Bateman "print"...

Detail of a Photomechanical Reproduction (Fine art repro)

Detail of a Genuine Original Print (RMS Aquitania)








By using a loupe you can instantly see the telltale grid of uniform dots above and left that tell you you're not getting a print at all, but a paper copy, made exactly the same way postcards and calendar art is printed, using a mix of dots of the four colours through a grid.

Left another extreme close up, but of a real original print from 1914.

That's real ink you're seeing, not an approximation of it. So no uniform repro dots or a grid of dots, no matter how close you go in or magnify.

Now, would you rather have real art hanging up, or just have it projected on a TV screen? From a certain distance TV looks fine, but the closer up you go to the screen you discover a uniform grid of dots (OK lines) that merely represents the image to your eye. There's no real paint there at all. Whereas with a real print, or painting, no matter how close you go you just see more real paint in detail.

This ultra close-up of real coloured inks from an antique chromolithographic original print of the RMS Aquitania, shows what you should be looking for if you want to spend your money on quality and a huge range of colours beyond only the four basics you get with photomechanical reproductions.

Go to Photomechanical Reproductions

Giclée prints will look like this, with a loupe, not like your TV screen... or the surface of a Limited Edition Fine Art photomechanical reproduction...

Advantages of Giclèe Prints over Limited Edition Fine Art Photomechanical Reproductions.

Giclées Photomechanical Reproductions
look as good as originals and far more affordable look nothing like the originals and are vastly overpriced for what they are
many people can't tell them apart from an original looks nothing like the original art
masters shot with modern digital (non-lossy) cameras masters shot with old (lossy) film cameras and degraded by years of storage
offers digital enhancing of the digital master you're stuck with the analogue negative of the original and all its imperfections
often look better than originals always look inferior to the originals
uses 8 to 12 colours uses four colour separations to approximate the others
superb colour accuracy of the original hard to match originals; colours vary wildly from different runs
allows making only one new print at a time need to run off 1,000 or 2,000 or 5,000 copies at a time to be affordable
can print from valuable archivals never available before can only make dupes of subjects that will sell thousands
can make a print even if only one person wants it images only available if hundreds want it
first print as perfect as the 50th can be loss of colour etc. as inks are depleted through enormous print runs
no need to run, or store, extras hundreds are stored, and fade, over years - decades - waiting for a buyer
prints absolutely new, fresh, made while you wait all old stock, some stored for years before being sold
can be made any size to order impossible - you have to buy the size the print run was made
uses real ink sprayed on to canvas uses a mix of coloured dots to approximate the colour
can see real colours of ink on the canvas cannot see ink droplets on the surface
uses no intermediate copying technology uses a colour separation grid to do colour printing
no grid of uniform dots on canvas entire surface is covered by a uniform grid of dots
canvas has surface look and feel of the original art surface of repro paper is glossy smooth, nothing like an original art work
estimated fade resistant for 80-120 years start to fade quickly
made from a digital original which never fades made from film negatives which fade and degenerate with age
are attracting interest from art investors no secondary market; poor investment and rapid erosion of value

Below just two of hundreds of fantastic chromolithographic antique prints made available to the public for the first time thanks to giclée technology, which allows you to make only one high quality print, to be affordable - and in any size you want... Most antique prints were never available to the public before, because for fine art reproductions, you could only duplicate pictures that made the mandatory print runs of 1,000 or more, affordable. And you were stuck with one size only...

Typical Comparative Prices for Giclée Prints Offered by Other International Sellers (not HeritageA&A)
- prices for rolled canvas only; no stretcher, no frames

From a UK Seller:

Gordons and Greys to the Front

Original from c 1890

Stanley Berkeley, British

24 x 36"

2010 Giclée on canvas print - $937 CAN

From a UK Seller:

Return from Inkerman

Original from c 1890

Lady Butler, British

26 x 40"

2010 Giclée on canvas print - $953 CAN

From a US Seller:

George Washington at the Battle of Princeton 1777

Original from c 1995

Don Troiani, American

25 x 32"

2010 Giclée on canvas print
- Sold Out - for $1200 US

From a US Seller:

Onward Christian Soldiers

Original from c 1998

John Paul Strain, American

28 x 40"

2010 Giclée on canvas print - $950 US

From a Canadian Seller:

Dreaming of Stars

Original from c 2001

Bill Brownridge, Canadian

26 x 39"

2010 Giclée on canvas print - $1195 CAN

From a Canadian Seller:

Nanaimo Harbour

Original from 1962

EJ Hughes

26 x 37"

2010 Giclée on canvas print - $2200 CAN


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