When decorating a home work space, are you on team “hang the diplomas” or team “don’t hang the diplomas?”
Regardless of your choice, chances are, at least one piece of artwork will still be needed to bring the room together.
That’s why this week’s post is sharing where to find good pieces at affordable prices.
Artwork Print and Reproduction Sources
ORC Week 2 Spring 2021
For the record, I’m on team hang the diplomas. Maybe it’s because of the layered, vintage look I’m going for or maybe it’s because I’m just proud of the accomplishments. All I know is that diplomas, in general, are very well-aged and marry beautifully with the old-to-new, masculine-to-feminine vibe for this particular space.
But over the past few months, finding affordable, quality artwork has been giving me all the decorating fits. I was having zero luck at thrift stores and, for the number of pieces needed, retailers were just too pricey.
If you are in the same boat, then this post is for you. The details of what I’m learning are provided for your shopping pleasure. The reason I say “am learning” is because it seems that once I got the momentum going, more sources are popping up every day.
Art Print and Reproduction Sources:
Just over 30 years ago, the J. Paul Getty Museum paid nearly $18 million for Renoir’s painting La Promenade (pictured below). This same year, another Renoir oil-on-canvas sold for over $78 million. I’ve tried to find the value of these pieces in today’s market, but the art world is pretty tight-lipped. If I had to guess, I’d say the value has tripled, if not more.
With this, I have come to the sad realization that I will never own an original Renoir.
Ahhhhh, but that’s ok, because sometimes a good copy can work just as well …..and this post will help us learn how to find it.
via LA TIMES
If a piece is an exact, exact copy of the original, then it is most likely some kind of digital print on paper or canvas. I’ve priced these pieces ($50 to $249) from multiple vendors. Sometimes vendors try to be clever by printing a digital copy on canvas and then adding a few brush stokes to “kinda” simulate a hand painted oil.
Huuuum, no. Please don’t fall for this. This is not a hand-painted reproduction.
Hand Painted Reproductions
When complete, my workspace will include a vintage Renoir reproduction that is a hand painted oil-on-canvas (see below). Obviously, it is a similar rendition of the original, but close enough for me.
These kinds of pieces tend to be a few $$ higher because they are true oil paintings, but can still be very affordable for a hand painted oil. The price is determined by the artist, the size of the piece, and the frame. Then, of course, added to this price are the retailer’s fees. And this is where it can get a little scary.
So, in an attempt to cut out the middle man (yes, I’m ashamed to do so), I did find several online providers that are linked at the bottom. I haven’t ordered from some of them yet, but plan to as their prices are less than half of most retailers. With any provider, suggest to start with a small piece in order to examine the quality of artistry and framing before going large and $$$$.
But please note that every online site works differently. Some sell reproductions from the masters in certain sizes while others allow a photo upload for the artist to copy in a custom size. If you want to go this route, downloads are available in free public domain sections of some online retailers. I’ll add these links at the bottom, too.
The bottom line is that, nowadays, you can find just about any kind of artwork you fancy at a reasonable price, including hand painted reproductions.
Other reproductions are made via digital printing. This Van Gogh was chosen as a trial order from an online vendor because of the deep brush strokes in the piece (look at the bottom). The way I see it, if a digital print (this type is called a Giclee) can almost look like an oil, then there are definitely many places where this kind of printing could be used instead of a hand painted oil.
This particular retailer uses prints from a bank of options that they offer, in a specific set of sizes, on paper that they choose. My print came 24 by 32 and, to fit this vintage frame, had to be cut to 22 by 28. This only works because I could cut 2 inches from the bottom and 4 inches from the left side without totally throwing the piece off balance.
A print of this size costs only $35 (including shipping) and is printed on paper that is about half as heavy as white poster board. The only negative is that the colors are more vibrant than expected. The piece is digitally very, very, very clear, but the colors are quite vibrant. But I gotta tell ya, I’ve decided that it’s a trade-off I’m able to work with and accept. The vendor I used is art.com but many others are also available online.
A Word of Warning
**Please note that the word Giclee does not indicate a specific level of quality and is often used by retailers with a lower than desired quality of printer. The word Giclee only indicates a specific type of inkjet printing for art, but is definitely one of the words to look for when searching for print reproductions. This is why I suggest that you try a vendor to examine their quality before sinking $$$$ into a larger piece.
**Also note that some home decor retailers are selling prints labeled as a reproduction from one of the masters. In one instance, I searched for Van Gogh and a print came up. Then I searched for Cezanne and the same print came up. Obviously both artists couldn’t have painted the same print so I searched their official websites. Turns out, it was neither. The retailer either innocently mislabeled the piece….twice….or is trying to pull off a fraud. So buyer, please check out the original painting if you are looking for an authentic print from a specific artist.
Fine Art and Museum Quality Giclee
If a museum quality print is desired, the pros at Tribeca Printworks https://www.tribecaprintworks.com/fine-art-giclee-printing/ can take digital prints to the max. With this online retailer, you can choose everything (image, size, paper, etc), BUT….. for a price.
Are they worth checking out? Absolutely.
Am I keeping them as a future source? Absolutely.
Before buying another hand painted oil, I will absolutely consider how their product would compare in quality and price.
For my living room makeover, I used 14 prints that were uploaded and printed by my local Office Depot. From the 5 by 7s to the 11 by 14s, they really worked out great. So never underestimate the visual quality and economic wisdom in using these kinds of photo prints.
How to Choose Photos for Print
The truth is, some photos will work better than others. And the more you look at prints, the more your eye will spy the original that will produce a good copy. In the meantime, here are a few helpful hints:
For small prints (up to 8 by 10), any good digital photo should produce a good print.
For 11 by 14 sized prints, the digital photo may not render a print that is as clear. It’s basically trial and error.
For the 11 by 14 sized prints in my living room, I used Paul Cezanne watercolors (from the free public domain file) so any blurring might be masked by the type of original artwork. And I gotta tell ya, it worked great. I only had one watercolor that bugged me a little. I considered doing a reprint, but haven’t yet. LOL..
What If the Standard Photo Print Size Doesn’t Fit Your Frame
If you look at the large square frame in the back, you’ll see this actually happened to me. My beloved vintage frame needs a 17-inch square print. And after scouring the internet for hours and hours ……..AND hours…….I finally came to terms that I wasn’t going to find such a print.
So here’s how I made it work. I rotated back to my old buddy Van Gogh and found one of his pieces that could be printed in an oversize and then cropped into a 17-inch square. I sent the photo to the printers and chose the print to the closest 17-inch square. When the over-sized print arrived, it was just a matter of finding the best center for the mat/frame and then trimming away the edges.
This time, I had to trim all four edges to get the best balance, but I do believe I found it.
Links for Art Reproductions
I do hope these ideas and links are helpful as you plan artwork using reproductions for your space. I’m the first to admit that it is not all inclusive, but if it gets you oriented on how to search for your best fit, then it is doing the job intended.
Links for art reproductions:
Handmade Piece https://www.handmadepiece.com
Fine Art America https://fineartamerica.com
1st Art Gallery https://www.1st-art-gallery.com/most-popular-paintings
Society 6 https://society6.com
Please tune-in to watch the projects progress and the rooms unfold. It’s always a joy to have you stop by.
And as always, we extend a special thanks to our gracious hosts, Linda at Calling It Home , One Room Challenge and Better Homes and Gardens. And invite you to enjoy over 200 more room renovations, click One Room Challenge. #oneroomchallenge #ORC #betterhomesandgardens #bhgorc
#homeimprovement #homedecor #artreproductions #artwork #artworkprintandreproductionsources