I Want That “Old-Money” Art But Not A Crappy Art Print

Hey Guys,

So glad that you enjoyed Sunday’s post about blue and white rooms. I’ve been getting questions about art recently and would love to share some ideas.

First, a comment from Betty:

I love the huge artwork, but I do wonder how does one incorporate a large print into a room without it totally taking over the room after the initial viewing?


And then this email from Christine:


Hi Laurel,
Love Every. single. One. Of your posts. Thank you!
Could you do this for me (and all your other readers, too, of course)!
Where can the ‘not uber-wealthy’ — also known as ‘the rest of us’ locate fabulous large art? For reference: the first two rooms in today’s post — Ralph Lauren and Aerin Lauder. Or the infamous Tory Burch above green velvet, bouillon-fringed sofa. I’m talking the kind that looks inherited and rich.
Is it possible? — it’s certainly not art.com, minted, Michael’s, Ballard or World Market. Or any of the usual retail sites.
I guess you’ll tell me to hope for the inheritance, but hope not!
Thanks in advance,



Yes, indeed. If you fall in the bottom 99% (or maybe 99.999%) this post is for you. Or if if you fall in the upper. .001%, this post is for you because maybe you don’t feel like spending millions for something to hang on the wall.


We all know that gorgeous “Old-Money” look.


Here’s what I’ve discovered. People who are born into great wealth and for generations very often don’t have houses as spiffy as you might think.

I’ve been in a few over the years. And in a couple of cases, I thought– oh my, I’ve hit the jackpot!


A seat cushion and one slip cover later and she was done.

But that was only a few weeks after I opened my business over 20 years ago.


Of course, there are many wealthy people whose homes are more elegantly decorated. And they always have this gorgeous old art which looks like it was handed-down for generations.


Old art.

Old rare art.

Handed down.

Or, bought at Auction.

From Christie’s or Sotheby’s.

Like the aforementioned and immensely talented and stylish Tory Burch. Here is her unbelievably gorgeous living room, where lives her unbelievably gorgeous, humongous painting that I recognize to be the work of Melchior De Hondecoeter. Say that ten times fast. No wait. I challenge you to say it once! haha.

Tory Burch green living room with fine oil painting over the green velvet sofa

I put Mr. De Hondecoeter’s name in my google box and I found some of his pieces that have  sold recently.

Fine art auctioned at Christie's Melchior de Hondecoeter A peacock, a peahen, a monkey and other birds on a terrace

Melchior de Hondecoeter A peacock, a peahen, a monkey and other birds on a terrace

Auctioned at Christie’s and sold for $1,650,00.00.


I see…

Let’s see. How many of my rolodex will I need to sell? lol


But did you know?


I too, love this artist’s work (well before I saw it in Tory’s living room)


AND I actually have a Melchior de Hondecoeter too!


Uh huh, yes; poor slob me has a piece of original art! I do!

Well, alright. Melchior didn’t paint mine. He’s been dead for 300 years.

Minor detail.

A 12-yr-old* child in China painted mine 3.5 years ago! And did a damned good job!

*I made that up; It could’ve been the child’s grandmother for all I know.


This is my “Melchior De Hondecoeter” Peacock On Decorative Urn – painted by I-dunno-who, 2013

Image taken with my canon.


You might recall seeing this piece of it over my sofa.


Soooo, where did you get it Laurel? Oh please tell me!


Calm your peacocks! I’m going to tell you!

This place – 1st-ArtGallery


And I paid about $500 bucks for an original oil painting that measures 40″ x 46″. I did have a choice of size and I agonized over that one, but I think the size is absolutely perfect for my sofa which is only 75″ wide.

How was the experience? I will tell you. Before they sent me the painting, they sent me a photo for approval.

It sucked.

I mean it was totally lacking in-depth and detail and the colors were off too.

I canceled the order which one has the prerogative to do.

But the guy promised me that they can do better and in about 2 weeks I had another painting to approve and this is it! I received it in another two weeks and yes, it was slightly sticky but nothing major.

I will admit that several weeks later and don’t freak out, but I took a little brown shoe polish to it to knock it back a little and give it a little more age. And yes this painting is probably a little brighter than the original, but it is one of Hondecoeter’s more colorful pieces.

So, all in all, I was very pleased and would recommend them, but I would be very specific about what you want and tell them that it must look like exactly like the photo or you cannot accept it. I recommend that you get your own photo and as hi-res as possible. You can often find the hi-res images on Wiki-media. And if you like, you can put the photo in a photo editor to tweak the colors.

Please make sure the place has a phone number and a person you can speak with. And preferably an address. And please make sure that the image is part of the PUBLIC DOMAIN. No copyright infringement allowed!


(I know you guys know that, but just want to be clear that I am in no way advocating any criminal or unethical activity.)

BTW, that dude De Hondecoeter was OBSESSED with BIRDS! I MEAN OBSESSED. He even painted some dead birds! (more than once too!)

melchior-de-hondecoeter-dead-birdsThanksgiving anyone?

Painting and Frame

That’s another source for reproduction art. There are dozens of these places!


Let’s look at some famous rich people for inspirational ideas on how we can get the-been-in-the-family-for-centuries-look on an average person’s budget.


And who better than the delightful India Hicks, daughter of the legendary decorator, David Hicks.

Some of you may recall that I heard her speak at the Design Blogger’s Conference last March and let me tell you, she is the funniest lady on the planet! Did you know that she was one of Princess Diana’s Bridesmaids?

Lady Pamela (India) Hicks preparing for Princess Diana's wedding

Yes, that’s India, second from the left. And yes, she had some choice words to say about her dress. lol Like I said, she’s uproariously funny!


Please notice the fine art.


This was their family home and her mother Lady Pamela Hicks still lives there.

(All images via Domino Mag)

India and family live in the Bahamas. We’ll get to that in a sec.



India Hicks Home Fine Art
Fine. Laurel. Very lovely, but what is that art and how do I get it?

I’m going to tell you. :] Well, I don’t know if this was the artist, but one of the most well-known artists of the mid-19th century for this type of portraiture was Franz Xavier Winterhalter


The following portraits are all by him.

Portrait of Leonilla, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn; Franz Xaver Winterhalter, German, 1805 - 1873; 1843; Oil on canvas; Unframed: 142.2 x 212.1 cm (56 x 83 1/2 in.), Framed (Display): 182.9 x 251.5 x 16.5 cm (72 x 99 x 6 1/2 in.); 86.PA.534

Portrait of Leonilla, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn; Franz Xaver Winterhalter, German- 1843- Oil on canvas

Portrait of Leonilla, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn; Franz Xaver Winterhalter, German, 1805 - 1873; 1843; Oil on canvas; Unframed: 142.2 x 212.1 cm (56 x 83 1/2 in.), Framed (Display): 182.9 x 251.5 x 16.5 cm (72 x 99 x 6 1/2 in.); 86.PA.534

Lovely work, no?


eegads! It’s Meryl Streep! :]

franz_xavier_winterhalter_1_madame_barbe_de_rimsky_korsakov- beautiful 19th century portrait artSo, you could have one of the repro companies recreate this for you, but here’s the deal.


Oy! You could end up with something like this. No offense to the artist who water-marked this image. I’m sure he is well-meaning, but never mind, you get it.

This is why— sometimes it IS better to go with the giclee reproduction thing. I’m sure by now that y’all know about giclee (pronounced gee clay – if you don’t already know). It’s an advanced printing method that is so good that there was a woman a while back who set up shop on TV (!) selling “Picassos”. No worries, the law caught up with her and put her away for quite a while.


Something important about buying giclee art prints that you need to know.


Giclees can be wonderful or not-so-great.


Oh, the printing is great, but if the original file is not large enough to support your large image, then you will get a pixellated print which is obviously undesirable. So, before ordering, I would get on the horn and discuss that with them.

One excellent source is Art.com. Aside from what Christine said, I have had very good success with them except for one time. That is why you must discuss whether the file can support the size you want.



And folks like India et al. do not only use fine oil paintings, they also put up wonderful prints, sketches and fine photography. These images are from India’s home in the Bahamas.

And after a little redecorating

A different set of prints and a new pink slip cover.

Some observations. Rich folks love pink! Did you know that? Well, at least the Hicks family does. But there was a lot of pink where Princess Diana’s wedding party was assembled.

And also the frames. The frames need to look rich– and old. So, if you get your art from a place with new frames, don’t be afraid to add a little aging embellishment to the frame.

Oh, and you can frequently get the art in a canvas reproduction. Sometimes the art will even have brushstrokes and/or a real life artist enhancement.


Other great sources for old-money (antique and vintage) art are:



Flea Markets

Resale shops

Antique shops

Tag, yard and garage sales

Estate sales


Let’s move on to another beautiful queen of style and breeding.


The previously mentioned Aerin Lauder, the granddaughter of Estee Lauder. I guess we all know that by now.

aerin lauder - the art makes this sumptuous blue library
Here’s that incredible library again with the amazing painting over the sofa.

IMO, the art makes the room!

The colors!


This is good time to address Betty’s question about large art not overwhelming the wall.


Notice what’s in common between Tory’s Living room and Aerin’s Libray?

The walls are a rich hunky color.


Rich hunky art needs a rich hunky wall color.


Laurel went hunting for the source. I so enjoy doing this and I am not sure if I found the exact artist, but I did narrow it down in terms of style and time period. I cut out the little section of art and put it in google images.



It took a few stabs but it appears to be of the Baroque era, late renaissance mid-1600’s and feels very much in the style of French artist Nicholas Poussin.

I’m not sure what the hell was going on here but what I remember from my art history days is that paintings were largely allegorical. Phew!

I also seem to recall that the pigment to make blue paint was very scarce and therefore highly prized.


Another Poussin. The Rest On the Flight Into Egypt.

Okay. Hubs is resting. Mom looks like she has her hands pretty full. You know, some things really do not change.


Sainte Cecile by Nicholas Poussin

Boys will be boys?

Just imagine any of this art sitting in your living room and how rich it would look?

But that’s not all it takes to get that old-money look.

To be continued…


Note: 9.16.20016. I am turning comments back on, but please– respectful, comments only! It appears that a large number of people misunderstood this post and I feel badly about that.

However, please note, the post was not how to get artwork; or best places to get artwork. It was about a very specific type of artwork. Art that in many cases was produced 3 or 4 centuries ago. This art is part of the public domain. There is no violation of copyright if one has reproduced a painting by an artist who has died hundreds of years ago.

It is not different than buying wallpaper that’s been printed off of a licensed original. Yes, original art is wonderful and I fully support all talented artists and wish for them to prosper.

Are there artists in this country who can paint in a masterful old-world style large piece of art and do it for under $1,000 or even 2,000? Undoubtedly, there are. But unless one happens, per chance, to know of them because they are a relative or a friend or the child of a friend and they have no searchable website, how is one to find them?

That’s a rhetorical question because I do not wish to have a debate. There are many, many posts on this website about art which you can read about here, here, here, here and here.

Plus dozens of other posts which demonstrate ideas for art without implicitly saying so.

Not everyone has the time or inclination to peruse, flea markets, tag sales, consignment shops, etc. for “just the right piece for a pittance.” Great if you happen upon it. It usually happens when one is not looking. And yes, of course, that IS a great way to find less expensive art. I have some pieces of my own that were found that way and I love them.

As always, I want people to do what’s right for them. And some of what is in this post may not be right for you and that is absolutely fine.

I do appreciate your kind feedback and the vast majority of you are overwhelmingly kind, but when I get dozens of comments that are reproachful, damning, harshly critical or someone even telling me “you need to develop your eye,” then, I need to step in and set up some limits.

Thank you for your understanding.










95 Responses

  1. Dear Laurel,
    I love your posts….and I love art prints and have many of them in my home; when we travel I buy a print from an artist indigenous to the area or country we are visiting. And I really do not mind framing the prints and having them hang in my home; it makes my home unique and a reflection of me. The prints are like my friends and remind me of all the places we have been lucky enough to travel to….and oddly enough most of my prints are of people so I guess I like having people in my home….just me and just an economical way to bring ‘art’ into my home.
    That being said I want to check out all the great sources that have been mentioned.
    Lastly my mil was an artist who worked in clay, but I have found a few water color studies she did in art school way back when and plan on having a set done to hang on one wall, so I guess I will have some original water colors? haha Love your posts; so real.

    1. Hi Susan,

      Love that. It sounds gorgeous! And what a wonderful memento from your trips. I have a set of old prints that I bought years ago in Rhode Island while on vacation. I think those things bought while away have special meaning.

  2. Hello Laurel, A good way to save money on commissioned art is to get a frame first, either empty or with something hideous in it. These can often be obtained for almost nothing. Then have the new (or reproduced) art created in the size of the existing frame.

    Also, flat sculptural art (carvings, screens, architectural salvage, etc.) can often be found in large sizes for comparatively little money.

    1. Hi Fea,

      I did say that…Didn’t I? And sorry if it sounded like there would be more art. The continuation is how to get a rich look. Actually Part II was the pillow post. I will be doing lots of posts on how to get a rich look for a lot less money.

      1. Got it. I wasn’t expecting more art, rather something that said “part 2” or referenced “old money look”. I get it now. I did see the pillow post, thank you!

  3. Hi Laurel – thank you for having humor. Blogs without the feature of humor become staid.
    I am obsessed with pink walls for my living room. Can you tell me in Lady Hick’s home what Benj.Moore color would come close to that. I don’t want peach, I really want a soft pink.
    In my senor years, I will do what I want and don’t care about comments from the peanut gallery.

  4. Hi Laurel,

    As always, another helpful post, and I’m glad you turned comments back on.

    I totally know what your intent was here, as I had also commissioned a piece to be copied about 11 years ago, Crivelli’s Annunciation With Saint Emidius. My husband fell in love with the original during a trip to Europe, and it wasn’t exactly as if gicles of that were available! (But yikes, I do hope my artist was at least 15, lol. JK)

    You always put such effort into your posts; just know they’re much appreciated.

  5. Your website and advice and posts are simply the best out there.

    I used to think that LaDolceVita aka Paloma (I can’t remember her surname)was pretty terrific, but then she started uploading posts on what to wear. Crazy for an interior designer to give me advice on clothing. And most of her pics are her not her work, but “inspiration” pics from other designers.

    Back to you Laurel, from a huge fan located in Australia, please, please continue posting and giving us the best tips ever.

    From measuring pillows, to hideous commercial and mass produced cheap nasty furniture and homewares which may be in fashion, but lack style and how can I not include “The Open Concept Bedroom/Bathroom”.

    I want to say “I love you” so I will. Laurel, I love you.

    The world needs more people like you. Witty and Sensible.The perfect combination for any human.

    Bless you.

    1. Hi Tessa,

      From down under! Oh, it took me years in my childhood to comprehend how it was possible that people on the “bottom” of the earth didn’t walk around upside down with the blood constantly rushing to their heads. lol

      Thank you, thank you for such a sweet message. The world needs more people like you, who take the time to share loving feelings. And that positive energy spurs me on! Thank you, thank you!

  6. I’m dying to know the paint color in Lady Hick’s home. It flatters everyone and looks warm on my monitor. I would cut it by about half for my home. Any clue?

  7. I own one truly fabulous piece of real art (a huge oil painting by the incredibly talented Julie Heffernan, Self Portrait as a Catastrophic Failure). But even buying directly from the artist, the quality of art I like is expensive. I can’t afford to buy $80,000 paintings for every room. I also commissioned some reproductions from artsheaven.com and they are REALLY, REALLY GOOD, much better than I expected.

      1. Here’s close up pictures of what I actually got.

        https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwHpzqa5HVMiM3lKdEtYNVNTUURYM0dUMl94b1JfZkJwMERR/view?usp=sharing and

        The Anders Zorn painting is better than it photographed (although the photograph isn’t bad). I planned on putting it in a small private space, but then changed up my plan to put it at the top of my main staircase.

        I got my art framed by them, thinking it was less hassle even though not especially inexpensive. The frames themselves are fine, but I don’t like the shininess of the gold inside around the mat, which I think looks cheap. I’d skip the framing next time and do it locally.

  8. Interesting post Laurel!

    Sorry late to comment on this but I just noticed this pic of the dining room in Julia Reed’s New Orleans apartment. It’s obviously a modern painting but I think it totally captures the still life / rich colors that you are evoking here so thought I’d send it in case you hadn’t seen it. I probably wouldn’t look twice at the painting hanging in a gallery, but in this setting I think it’s fab:


    1. Oh love it! That is incredibly beautiful Catherine! The entire vignette is incredible and is a perfect example of gorgeous styling. Put your finger over the pretty dish with the oranges or tangerines and of course it’s still gorgeous, but that little hit of orange brings the entire tableau to life. And I can’t take my eyes off of the candle sconces!

      PS: It’s never too late to comment!

  9. Can anyone identify the artist of the beautiful painting shown in the library of Aerin Lauder? This subject looks like something that I have been looking for for years?

    1. Glinda,

      Just for kicks I ran this by an art history professor… She couldn’t name the artist from the little photo, but her guess is 17th century Flemish. (So right on Laurel for nailing the era/style!) possibly Rubens/circle of…

      See, for example another allegorical landscape with cows :):

      PS: The website above has a whole database of downloadable high-resolution images of many major artists so is a cool resource.

  10. I have just spent a year getting art work framed or reframed, and as I’ve taken things in to the framer, I’ve realized something: there is a consistency in all of it that transcends medium and maker. If you look at the photographs, paintings, various types of prints, and shadow-boxed items, you will know me and my passions and they will “fit” in my home. They have an integrity because I found beauty and personal meaning in them. And I see no reason except false vanity why a person who truly loves a 300-hundred-year-old painting that is locked away in a museum should deny herself the pleasure of its company. For centuries European and American art students copied the works of the great masters as a way of learning and developing their technical skills. And a lot of the work they produced in that way went onto the walls of discerning–and often wealthy—individuals who loved it. If one cares about the opinion of others who might think it pretentious or outre to hang anything but an original canvas or print, then don’t hang such a piece. Do whatever will please others. Butif you love the original canvas and will not be able to skip over to Paris every time you want to see it, be glad there are 13-year-old Asian boys who can produce a good facsimile of the beloved painting at a price you can afford. If your art purchases come from your personal appreciation, your home will speak of you and unless you put yourself in the hands of some architect or designer who doesn’t “get” you, it will be comforting to you and make your home comfortable to others. Breugel won’t burst into your living room with a supoena for copyright violation. I love this piece, Laurel and can’t imagine why anyone would object to it. (Well, that’s a lie…) My only complaint is that having read through it and the responses, I can’t get the wonderful “I like Chinese” song out of my head. (Is Monty Python low-brow?)

  11. FYI to FINE ART SEEKERS in PA Tri State Area: JURIED ART SHOW, Daylesford Abbey, Paoli, PA, October 8 through October 16, 2016. Opening Reception October 7th. Malvern Art Show is another popular large JURIED FINE ARTS area show that runs every February. Both regarded as prestigious Fine Art Shows.
    I mention these because both shows feature a wide range of amazing fine artists whose work replicates Old World Style.

  12. Laurel, Thanks for the ideas. I see a lovely painted urn on the chest of drawers in Pamela Hicks’ childhood home. Any ideas on beautiful painted porcelain bowls/vases/urns for the bottom 99 who can’t afford the antique ones that go for thousands or the new ones that go for hundreds?

  13. What a wonderful post, Laurel. The right artwork really gives a room character and makes it come alive.

    Last year I wanted an oversized painting to hang above the sofa in my den, so I decided to learn to paint. I spent several hundred dollars on weekly art lessons and professional supplies and set out to copy an Impressionist painting of clouds from the Wisteria catalog (ironically produced in a Chinese artist colony!). It took a few months of practice, but I eventually got something I liked. I’ve also painted a couple of large hard edged abstracts and a simple seascape, all copied from paintings I found in books by top interior decorators.

    The nice thing about the moderately serious DIY route is it lets me tailor my project to the exact spot where it will hang in my house. I’ll never be a real artist, but I can have fun and end up with a piece of decorator art I’m proud of.

  14. I can’t believe the timing of this post. Just before reading this, I’d been looking for paintings of peacocks at 1st-ArtGallery. This was after seeing Tory Burch’s living room in Vogue Living. I really like some of these paintings. I read the comment from Rhonda, I am concerned people will think I’m trying to pass the painting off as an original. Normally I wouldn’t care but our home is going to be on a Christmas tour of homes with a thousand or so strangers roaming through.

    1. Hi Terri,

      If it were me, I wouldn’t care two hoots what anyone else thinks. Do what gives you joy and if folks don’t like it, they don’t have to come back!

      Artists have been painting “in the manner of” other artists since the beginning of time.

  15. Hmm.

    I’ll be honest, though I completely understand your reasoning, a reproduction is not the direction I’d personally go in. But I’m also a painter, which means I have a different perspective- and not an unbiased one. 😉

    If you’re interested in reading another artist’s opinions on some of the over-seas reproductions, I highly recommend this blog post by Dan dos Santos: http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2016/05/just-how-good-are-those-knock-offs.html (If you don’t recognize the name, check out his gallery of artwork. You may recognize his paintings instead. ) Now the piece Dan purchased he got from eBay- so it’s obviously a different source. But he does make some useful observations about the quality and longevity of the reproduction.

    Personally- and please do take this with a grain of salt- I’d find a living artist whose work you like and find out if they have anything available. There are thousands of starving artists (totally not just a stereotype. Heh.) out there who would gladly do backflips if you took an interest in decorating your walls with their work. Many of them price their work well below the $1k mark, and for that extra large paintings- well I don’t speak for every artist out there, but I betcha a taco lunch that their work beats out De Hondecoeter’s price by a significant amount.

    1. JD,

      I’m a starving artist too. I’m a former ballerina/actress and I waited on tables for 8 years in my 20’s.

      I’m 60 now.

      And ya know what? I got with the program and started this blog and made it so that it was searchable which is most likely how you found it in the first place.

      It’s an internet world and those artists, if they want to do this type of work, need to create a searchable website and advertise that they are for hire.

      I don’t feel that I should have to defend myself and I am not going to continue to repeat myself.

      This is being presented as ONE option. I’ve spoken on this post about other options and on several other posts on this blog.

      And it’s for a very specific type of art.

      It is a safer bet to go with a very good print of the art but that was not available to me at the time or I would’ve done that.

      Mr. De Hondecoeter has been dead for some 300 years and his paintings sell for well over a million dollars.

  16. Great post, as always, Lauren! A question for you. I often see great art (reproduction or not) hung with frames that are completely wrong for the artwork. Would you be able to explain one day the different frames that are best for various types of artwork? I know not to hang simple botanical prints in fancy swirly gold gesso frames nor a Romantic oil painting in the ubiquitous plain black wood frame. In between, it gets kind of iffy.

    1. That’s a good question. My best advice at this time is maybe go to an art museum to see how they’ve done it or look online for ideas. It’s really what’s pleasing to your eye and looks good in your room-setting.

      I’m generally of the opinion that less is more when it comes to frames. Better a little too small than little too big and overwhelming to the art.

  17. Hi Laurel. My motto is “skulk, skulk, skulk”… antique shops, estate sales and thrift stores, especially those in affluent neighborhoods. Another way to get “the look” is to hunt for old lithographs to fill a wall. The only downside is the framing cost which can be “yikes!” but if you look for a sale, or do them one at a time, it’s less painful.

    1. Hi Christina,

      Yes, custom framing is expensive. I’ve done a lot of posts on the blog about art walls, but never one about this particular aspect. There are so many ways one can do art on the wall. I love eclectic art walls and should’ve linked those posts here.

      And sometimes people don’t have the time, patience or access to go hunting. I’m one of them. :] However, I respect others who do because that is their joy!

  18. Wonderful post…loved the blue and white post, as well!
    We have found some great art in local galleries. We have bought some great original oils from a gallery in Sausalito, CA. She has some more well known painters, but features several unknown artists that are wonderful and much more affordable…
    Galerie Elektra

    1. Hi Mary Ellen,

      Thank you. Love Sausalito. And as I’ve said, I don’t want people to think that the only way to do art is to have a reproduction made.

      The art in this post is of a nature that is not available as a new piece. And if it’s any good, unless by some wild fluke, it’s going to be very expensive.

  19. I love all your articles and this one is very interesting as well. I do have issue with anyone sending a hi-res image of something to a company to be reproduced as a painting or any art form. Seems like a Copyright infringement to me. To do that with a photograph, even if taking it from photo form and having it converted to an Oil Painting, IS Copyright Infringement, which is Against The Law.
    I know another photographer who had an image stolen from her website, and reproduced as a painting which was auctioned off at a Dog Show! Someone in the “Dog World” recognized her work and notified her about it. Unfortunately it became a legal issue because the person refused to withdraw the art work that they reproduced as their own oil painting, using the Photographer’s original image in it’s entirety.
    I like Rhonda’s comment of seeking out original artist’s. By frequenting local Galleries, Exhibits and Art Shows, it’s easy to find artists who create works in the art styles that you are attracted to and you won’t have a reproduction. There are some incredible artists who create everything from old world style paintings, impressionism, abstract art and more, that could be come future heirlooms at affordable prices now.
    In any case, I’d rather have that or something from an Estate Sale than a copy painted in China or elsewhere, that is essentially stolen art. In this digital age most people think if it’s on the internet it’s there for the taking – WRONG!. COPYRIGHT Laws DO exist and are enforceable in the court of law and subject to fines, etc.
    All that aside, keep up the great work, always interesting content in one way or another. Best Design Blog out there!

    1. Hi Jackie,

      Forgot to mention that and yes, you are right. Any painting one would have commissioned must be part of the public domain. And therefore, is up for grabs, not stolen.

      Generally, if the artist has died a 100 years ago or more, it is safe, and the works are part of the public domain, but best to double check.

    2. Yes,yes copyright laws exist. BUT,THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH REPRODUCING AN IMAGE FROM 300 YEARS AGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      Jeez stop beating her up people.

  20. Art college auctions or sales. Minneapolis College of Art and Design has several a year. It won’t be “old school” art, but there are fabulous pieces in every medium. I’m sure all the “top ten” art schools have similar. People buy tickets (last time I checked, $75) to get in on the first night at MCAD. Find their website, get on their mailing list. Ditto for the other art colleges.

  21. I’m enjoying my new condo and we have real live peacocks roaming around and even flying right up to the railing by my screened-in porch. Trouble is, peacocks make a lot of racket. I’m really not into the peacock and peacock-blue trend. I saw a landscape painting I really liked at an antique store but at $275 it was a little out of my price range. I went into the store the other day and it was gone. Oh well, you snooze you lose.

  22. Surfaceview.co.uk offers fine art images from many museums, and they will print them in any size you want. I had an Audobon print blown up into a mural of linen textured wallpaper and it looks gorgeous! This British company is very easy to communicate with via email, and they offer free express shipping to the U.S. for orders over a certain cost.

    I have also had great results with Chinese artists. My husband had them transform an old Polaroid snapshot into a lovely life size painting. Makes us look like royalty! That is one way to build an old school family portrait gallery.

  23. What about tapestries? You can find old ones for very cheap, and you can frame them too. Look at ebay for “Collectible tapestries” and you’ll find many samples: http://www.ebay.com/sch/Tapestries-/950/i.html

    Where I grew up there were old persian tapestries on the wall, which were generally made with silk and kept their colors extremely well. They were luxe in my great-grandparents’ generation and tacky in my parents’ generation 🙂 I guess this is the modern version of those: http://www.oldcarpet.org/style/pictorial-persian-rugs.htm

    1. Hi Luiza,

      I love tapestries but most of my clients don’t. However, many years ago, did a couple for clients, one in dining room and one in a bedroom and they made the rooms! Wonderful colors!

  24. Laurel – You will love this. Many years ago, I bought a very large painting for $60 at an auction. It was a painting of a beautiful lady. I hung it over our bed. Go forward many years, we are visiting the Ringling Brothers museum in Florida and I stop and stare at this painting in front of me. I looked at my husband and said, “this is so much like ours”. I walked up to the painting and read the label, “Salome with the head of John the Baptist”. Shock, disbelief. I have this OVER OUR BED. When we returned home I ran into the bedroom and sure nuff, there in dark colors was the head of John the Baptist on a platter. I took the painting to a gallery and he said it was done by a well known french painter, don’t recall name. He kept it and tried to sell it but no one wanted it. I took it back and had John cut out of the painting and I call it, “Redeemed Salome” She hangs on the wall outside my bedroom.

  25. Hi Laurel, beautiful post as always. Wanted to let your readers know that there are WAY more auction houses than Christies and Sotheby’s where they can nab great art. LiveAuctioneers.com is a great resource for finding houses in their areas. And if you are considering bidding on a piece, you can type the artist’s name into the “sold” parameter to see what they have sold for in the past.

    I did a two-part blog post on Home Glow Design on the best steals to be found at auction (art is one of them) and the ins and outs of buying for newbies, including pitfalls to avoid. I’ve gotten some enormous pieces for under $500.

    1. Thanks much Amy for that resource. I did check it out and not sure I understand, but it says 19% up to 50k, 19% up to 1,000,000 and 19% over 1,000,001. I’ll have to look when I have more time. I only saw two fine paintings and starting bids were in the 5 figures. Of course, it would be incredible to own an original. Nothing else like it.

      1. The percentages you’re seeing are the “Buyer’s Premiums.” That is the amount over the gavel price that you pay to the auction house.


        You are not going to find old world masters for under $500, no. They will still go high. But you can find very good art in general for people who would like original pieces — portraits, landscapes, impressionist, modern abstract.

        1. Thanks Amy,

          The problem is…I know absolutely nothing about auctions. I mean, nothing! I never get involved in anything like that and my clientele is not in that league either. Not even a 10,000 painting. Maybe a few are, but the majority no.

          And the person who wrote in isn’t either, but I do appreciate the information!

  26. There’s a difference between something original though ‘inspired by’ a famous artist and an outright copy. The copy will be instantly recognizable as such and will just cheapen the whole room. The ‘inspired by’ (like your de Hondecoeter) won’t fool anybody but it’s obviously not supposed to and therefore is a cool homage to the style and dramatic statement that pulls the room together.

    What baffles me is that people will spend 10K on a sofa then put some random art print on the wall. Instead could buy a 5K sofa, and a beautiful (and large) 19th C landscape or still life for the other 5K. Most cities have AMAZING finds at local auction. Large early 20th century landscapes can be dirt cheap (couple hundred bucks) — and I mean actually good ones that don’t look like something from a thrift store or cheesy hallmark card.

    I guess my point is that most people assume they can’t afford “real” art that is old. Yes we can’t afford the same works as India Hicks and all, but anyone at any level can find something real!

    1. Hi Catherine,

      What amazes me is that people (around here), will spend 1.5 million+++ for a house and then not want to spend 5,000 for a sofa!

      A couple people have mentioned a place or two, but so far, haven’t seen anything remotely close to what I’m talking about here. Not saying it’s not out there, but haven’t seen it yet. I hope I do. That would be awesome.

      1. Black Rock Galleries in Bridgeport CT (for all the NYC/Westchester folks it is not far) has a gigantic showroom (warehouse size) and usually has a very nice selection of original oil paintings (i.e. beautiful large portraits like those in your photos) You just have to look. Most of what is in their showroom is not on their web-site. And their estate sales/auctions draw mostly from southern CT suburbs (think money).

  27. There are so many places to buy amazing original art at reasonable prices. Someone else mentioned EBTH (Everything But The House) and they do have terrific art finds (furniture too, but shipping can be costly). Other places to look: Black Rock Galleries — an estate sale place that usually has several auctions going at once. They also have an unbelievable showroom in Bridgeport CT that has MILLIONS of treasures just waiting to be discovered. Ro Gallery in Long Island City also has frequent auctions of every kind and period of art imaginable, and the prices run the gamut. Their auctions are online and in real-time (super fun!). Housing Works (many locations in NYC and a good web-site))sell art in their stores and also run great auctions. There is also always potential on Craigslist, but this is much more hit or miss.

  28. Laurel, thank you thank you thank you! Love this post! I adore oil paintings and this post has so many good ideas I have never thought of! I have had good luck buying giclee prints. I usually pay more for the framing than for the actual print but it looks stunning and allows me to enjoy gorgeous art. That’s really the point, whether you have an original, a reproduction painted in China, or giclee..to enjoy beautiful art, both for itself and for what it brings to the room…and as much as I’d like to buy local art, it’s just not my thing. I grew up on Sister Wendy:)

    1. Hi Eleanor,

      Yeah, custom framing is expensive. A lot of places offer a choice of frames and that helps a lot. It’s semi-custom because they have a limited selection and sizes, so not as costly.

  29. I lucked out. I purchased a 48″ x 58″ original painting from a listed German artist that was painted in the 1600s….for $900! It hangs over my sofa right now and is allegorical, much like the Poussin you showed. I got it at an estate sale. I’m a big believer in original, antique art for the home…I’ve always found I can get reasonable deals if I wait long enough. That space over the sofa had nothing over it for years. But I enjoy the hunt.

  30. Very interesting. I’ve got to comment on the artwork about the best way to get fresh goat milk for your child (Ai Yi Yi) I did not know that you could actually have a “Masters” artwork made now. Hmmm I wonder if any of those art forgers are still working LOL Seriously though, I’m going to have to start looking in the resale and consignment shops and see what I come up with. I can’t wait for Part II. Thanks,

  31. You mentioned the wealthy like pink. It also seems like they don’t follow trends. They decorate the way they want, in whatever colors and styles they wish. And their homes are classic!

  32. You have to scour them like mad, but you can pick up some amazing deals (sometimes) on real art on online auctions sites. I like Everything But The House and Aspire, especially Aspire. EBTH quality is not as good.

      1. Everything But The House is an estate sales website where bids start from 1 dollar. And yes, you can get lucky in spotting great artwork there..even dating 17 century..
        Of course it will go for much much more in the end of the auction, if it is great.

        But before this site became wildly popular-and I found it right around that time and knew immediately it’s destined to become wildly popular-I won an etching by a very prominent artist, whose works are in museums and collections all over the US, who won several prizes for his work. I never knew his name before-I just loved this etching. I won it for 40 bucks..

        Can’t believe I missed this post. So happy-I’m having a double Sunday fun! Off to reading the comments

        1. Hi Jenny,

          Thanks for the info. I think I said somewhere else that auctions are not something I’ve ever become involved with but it’s good to know about these resources.

  33. I don’t understand why someone wants a reproduction trying to pass it off as the original, no matter how good it is. If an art afficianatto sees it they will know it’s not the original and if you don’t have millions, your friends will know it’s not the original. Why not find an artist, maybe local, and purchase her “real” originals.

    1. Hi Rhonda,

      Who’s trying to pass it off as an original? That would indeed be silly. Of course it’s lovely to purchase locally, but what if what someone desires isn’t available? Just presenting options.

      1. I absolutely agree with you, Laurel! Not everybody likes the type of original art that can be purchased for a couple hundred or even a couple thousand dollars. The pieces I like are huge, detailed, take an enormous amount of skill and time to create — and are correspondingly EXPENSIVE. I saved up for years to buy one piece I really loved, and supplemented with reproductions of pieces by dead artists who were painting around the time my Victorian was built. I feel zero shame or regret. I feel AWESOME about it.

      2. I completely agree! I really like certain styles of art that are not popular with current artists. I’m certainly not going to find art that I like locally. I’ve commissioned an original digital painting done by an artist I found on Deviantart.com and that turned out well. There are many old paintings (over 100 years old) that I really love so I like your idea of 1st Art. I will have to try it sometime.

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