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Precise Origin of Its English Use

The pre-existing French word was borrowed and applied to such prints by Jack Duganne, a California artist and photographer during the 1990s. Thus he did NOT “coin” the word, as some of the more illiterate but artsy-fartsy websites insist. How could he have, my little know-no-word experts, when the French word has existed in print since 1852?

As we have come to expect with any term that might earn a grifter a few dishonest dollars, giclée has a proper meaning and a sleazy, fly-by-night, con-artist meaning too. Thus, on certain websites selling copies of posters and famous paintings, what is sold as a giclée print may be smeary, visual garbage spewed from the meretricious nozzle of some one-hundred-dollar inkjet printer by a crack addict in a New Jersey warehouse who finishes the copied work by sneezing on it.

Apt here are the most under-regarded two words of sales advice ever uttered, the Latin warning: caveat emptor ‘let the buyer beware.’

Is Sincere Sid’s Online House of Photographical Masterworks going to sell you a genuine giclée print of Lewis Hine’s “Powerhouse Mechanic” (seen below) for six bucks? Probably not. So, brain up and don’t get taken to the cleaners like a clueless ninny.

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