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Original Art vs. Giclee Prints

Discerning whether to buy an original work of art or a print? Both have their benefits and offer valuable solutions for people looking to add beauty to their spaces. First things first, what's the difference?

Original Art, whether it be a painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, etc. is the direct process of creating using the artist's chosen medium to produce a work of art. The original retains the artist's craftsmanship.

Giclee prints, pronounced “zhee-clay,” is French for “to spray.” This literal interpretation of the word defines what the art of giclee printing is... reproducing art through a printer to exactly resemble an original work of art. Giclee prints are a high quality, archival and long lasting reproductions.

So what is the benefit of buying one over the other?

Benefits Original Art:

  • Original art is an experience. If you've ever been to a museum to see original works from the masters, it touches your soul in a different way then seeing those works on screens, posters or prints. As stated above, the original art retains the artist's craftsmanship. The direct process of the artist's mind and hands that came together to create something that did not exist before.

  • Original art is valuable. I always think of the story about Pablo Picasso...The story claims that a woman approaches Picasso in a cafe and asks the artist for a napkin on which he has been doodling. Picasso says it will cost 40,000 francs. “But it only took you 10 minutes,” she says. “Madame,” he replies, “it took me 40 years.” Original art is the sum of the artist's entire life and experiences that manifest itself through the act of creating. When you buy an original work of art you are buying the artist's experience, original ideas, and years of developing style and mastering skill.

  • Original art that speaks to you. When I talk about the value and experience of buying original art, there is one aspect that means more then all the others...That is the personal and emotional connection of the viewer (you) and the art. Your experiences shape what you are drawn to. Emotional connections will not happen with every original art that you see and there is a beauty when you do experience it. If an artwork moves you, always consider buying the original if you can afford it!

Benefits of Reproductions and Giclee Prints

  • Technology today has allowed for the reproductions of original art, that when done right, creates a near identical image to the original. Giclee prints use archival inks and paper or canvas to create long lasting beautiful reproductions.

  • Reproductions are affordable. While originals can be expensive, and rightfully so, reproductions are a cost effective solution when you want to add art to your space but don't have the budget for an original.

  • Reproductions are less of a commitment. Maybe you're drawn to an artist or style that you want to purchase, but you're not quite ready to commit to an original (Originals can be a big purchase that will last a lifetime and more!). Reproductions give you the ability to still support the artist and try the art in your space without the commitment of the original.

Do you prefer buying originals or prints? Why did you choose one over the other? Feel free to share your experience in the comments or email me at !

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