The creation of the Digigraphie® label is relatively recent. Digigraphie® was officially launched on 13th November 2003, at the centenary of the Autumn Exhibition. But its practice is much older. For several years, photographers, sculptors and painters, as well as service providers (photo laboratories and lithographic studios), have been using the technology of Epson printers to produce prints on art paper. This in turn has opened the doors to a new discipline: the digital reproduction of a work of art.
The search for a name
But what should a high quality, digital art print created with an Epson printer be called? This question arose as long ago as 1991 in the USA, when Jack Duganne, head printer at Nash Editions, needed a generic term to describe the works of the artist Diane Bartz, produced using inkjet technology. He used the French term "jet d'encre" (inkjet) which he refined to "gicleur" (jet/sprayer) and then "Giclée" (sprayed). A new label was born. (Source "Digital Printing" by Harald Johnson, Eyrolles editions).
French artists were also faced with the same problem as Duganne. They immediately chose discard the expression "ink jet print", which they found to be inappropriate for an art print. Some of these artists therefore decided to create their own label. This was the case for Philip Plisson, the marine artist who created "Pixographie", or Jean-Noël l'Harmeroult, the fashion photographer who called his works "Hyperchromes".
These two image professionals therefore used a personal label to describe their limited-edition art prints created using Epson Professional photo printers.
The arrival of the "Digigraphie®" label
Faced with these developments, Epson France registered the name Digigraphie® with the INPI (Institute Nationale De La Propriété Industrielle / National Industrial Property Institute) and the OHIM (The Institute for the registration of European Trade Marks) in 2003. The trade marks then became European. All those who comply with the usage rules may now use this label.
More freedom and visibility for artists
Artists are the primary beneficiaries of this new label. Digigraphie® gives artists more freedom, more visibility and allows them to control their own production. More visibility
By definition, an original work is unique. Digigraphie® offers every artist the opportunity of wider distribution of their creation by offering a high quality limited-edition. A fully-fledged artist
Digigraphie® gives pride of place to imagination and creation. "I am an author, composer and interpreter" Philip Plisson loves to stress. The photographer is not just content with taking a photograph, but also produces the print and gives the image the layout he prefers. The possibilities are endless. Controlled production
Epson printer technology enables artists to control the quality and quantity of their production. Digigraphie® prevents any plagiarism as each piece of work is numbered, stamped and signed. Each print is part of a limited-edition. Once the limited-edition quantity is reached, there are no additional prints. Prints as required
Artists are free to print their works over time, when they wish, without the risk of tarnishing their creation. Digigraphie® guarantees perfect reproduction of colours and nuances. The work does not change over time. Artists can, therefore, produce their works based on demand. Better use of heritage
Using Digigraphie®, means extending the life of a work. Artists have a new form of expression and a new support for renewing their heritage. It is a valuable alternative to either single work or large print-runs. An on-line gallery
Digigraphie artists now have their own gallery on this site. Each artist can register and present their portfolio of Digigraphies for free.
Galleries bursting with life
Digigraphie® offers exciting opportunities for galleries. One advantage is Digigraphie® offers galleries new original works. Every print produced by a Digigraphie® artist is, in effect, an original creation, numbered and signed. Galleries can therefore have a multiple offer and can sell a limited-edition series of a unique work. Digigraphie® Collection
Another advantage of Digigraphie® is the sale of Digigraphies Collection. This specific label relates to the works of deceased artists. The heirs of a deceased artist can produce Digigraphies of his/her works and exhibit them in a gallery. This is a way of re-valuing the artistic heritage of an artist.
Museums proud of their heritage
The Collection Digigraphie® label attracts museums across Europe. All museums, both national and private, can now offer visitors the chance to acquire a limited-edition quality piece of work.
Digigraphie can offer visitors the chance to leave with an exceptional, durable reproduction of their favourite work (painting or photo). It’s a fantastic opportunity to introduce an artistic heritage into your home. The sale of Collection Digigraphies could be done during a temporary exhibition or during a visit of permanent works. A large choice of Art papers
Digigraphie is directly related to the support materials used. Epson has selected a range of art papers dedicated to Digigraphie, to provide artists with a vast choice of materials: Art paper that is smooth, ultra-smooth, textured, watercolour, velvet, canvas, etc. All these materials have been tested by independent laboratories to guarantee the stability of the work over time. The complete list of Digigraphie® art papers can be found here
. Albert Kahn Museum: From the autochrome to the Collection Digigraphie®
The Albert Kahn museum is a Digigraphie® convert. It was one of the first museums to produce and exhibit Digigraphies from its collection.
Albert Kahn, a French banker and philanthropist, aspired to a peaceful world in which understanding and knowledge of other cultures would end intolerance. From 1909 to 1931 he hired photographers and sent them around the world taking colour pictures, building his "Archive of the Planet":
Today, the collection of 72,000 colour negative plates, the largest in the world, provides a "clear picture of the evolution of the planet". To share and distribute this unique heritage, the Albert Kahn museum has chosen to go digital and offers Digigraphies to its visitors. Epson technology is reviving these historic plates.
Composed of the pioneers of this technique, Epson set up a committee uniting several photographers, sculptors and painters. Its role: to define the rules of use for the label, ensuring its harmonisation across the different artistic disciplines during its evolution over time and, finally, to advise on the adaptation of the Epson technology to their specific requirements.
The use of the term Digigraphie relates exclusively to a print produce:
- By an Epson Stylus Pro professional printer
- With Epson UltraChromeTM inks
- On certified* paper
- Authenticated: numbered, signed by the artist, marked with the relief stamp and accompanied by its certificate.
If one of these four obligations is not complied with, the printed work cannot, in any case, be qualified as Digigraphie®. This obligatory qualification is the guarantee, for the artist as for their clients, of ensuring the fidelity and permanence of the reproduced work.
The Artist undertakes, in the context of the use of the Digigraphie label, to exclusively produce works in limited series. The concept of limited series is defined by three criteria freely determined by the Artist:
- The number of proofs reproduced
- The format of the reproduction of the work
- The support on which it is printed.
If, for a defined series, the printer, paper or format is changed, it is obligatory that this become the subject of a new series. The artist undertakes not to exceed the determined print run number, as indicated on the Digigraphie certificate given to each acquirer of a work.
If these commitments are not complied with, Epson reserves the right to withdraw the embosser from the Artist, together with their Digigraphe referencing. On their part, the Digigraphe Artist may withdraw from this programme without prior notice and without particular reason, but having notified Epson in advance.
Equip yourself with a printing solution which complies with the technical terms of Digigraphie. Digigraphie® PROfocus Resellers are chosen for their recognised skills and their real involvement in the Photography and Art markets, and are specially trained to provide printing solutions and training for photographic artists and painters.
Once the signed Artist charter has been received, Epson will provide, via the PROfocus Digigraphie® Reseller, the artist with an embosser to mark and authenticate their Digigraphs. This embosser can be customised to include the name of the artist on its lower half the name of the artist on its lower half.
A permanent gallery for you to visit
Once the signed charter has been received, Epson will provide an access code to allow the artist access to their own gallery, with the ability to personalise their own pages. Here each artist can reference their work and display their portfolio of Digigraphs. This service is free and access to the site is free for visitors to the on-line gallery.
Artists can also provide information about their current exhibitions and give links to their personal sites.
Using a laboratory
Artists can also use a laboratory to produce their Digigraphs. A network of Digigraph Providers has been established in order to allow artists to make prints with the Digigraphie® quality label. This network is composed of renowned professional laboratories and lithography studios.
The artists will benefit from having their works of art referenced on the official website in the same way as the self-equipped artists. The stamp will be that of the digigraph provider and not the artist.