Intaglio

Intaglio is an overall term for a fine art medium in which the image is created on a printing plate that is then used to transfer the image to another surface (usually paper). The surface of a metal plate is bitten by an acid or by sharp tools. Etching ink is applied to the plate and it is wiped clean leaving ink only in the areas below the surface of the plate. The plate is put through an etching press to transfer the image on the plate onto various types of paper used for intaglio printing.

Both the plate and the printed image are created by the artist, and each intaglio print made (not the plate) is considered an original work of art. These prints are done in limited editions, each one signed and numbered by the artist. A print numbered 3/20 would be the third print of a limited edition of 20 prints.

The price of such prints is usually less than art of the same size and quality done in a medium such as oil, for example, because the artist can make more than one artwork with the same plate. Prints of a very limited edition would be of more value than those of a very large edition.

Intaglio techniques represented by artwork on this site are:

Etching: The plate is covered with a substance (called a ground) which resists acid. The ground is removed by the artist with various etching tools . The plate is placed in a bath of acid, and areas with ground removed are bitten by the acid to produce the etched image.

Aquatint: Porous ground which is semi-acid resistant is applied to the plate to create a tone or varied tones. It is often combined with line etching.

Drypoint: The image is cut into the plate by the artist with a diamond-hard tool. This method produces a ridge along the incisions, called burr. This gives a drypoint line a characteristic appearance of softness different from the sharp clean lines of an etching.

Giclée

Giclées are fine art digital prints. They are prints generated by an inkjet printer from a digital image of an original artwork. The digital image is adjusted in a computer application to insure that the print will look exactly like the original artwork. The french word, "giclée" means "that which is sprayed". If the giclée is created by the artist they are usually signed.

The price of a giclée can vary considerably depending on the size and the longevity of the ink and paper used to create it. I print my giclées with Epson pigment based inks on Epson photo quality matte paper. The ink and paper I use tests to a longevity of about 72 years.

Very important: All giclee prints should always be displayed under glass and out of direct light since this greatly protects their longevity. If a giclée is left out in direct light of any kind and not covered by protective glass or plexiglass, it will not last long no matter how archival the production materials are. I sell my prints with a firm backing and single white matte cut to the standard frame size for convenient framing.