Cutting out reproductions from artbooks and framing them?
November 8, 2011 2:27 PM   Subscribe

Cutting out reproductions from artbooks and framing them?

I'm starting up a collection of comprehensive high-quality artbooks by modern painters such as Otto Dix, Magritte, Dali, Edward Hopper and a few others. I've been considering cutting out my favorite artworks from them, framing them, and putting them around my place. Would this be an unwise thing to do? Obviously by doing this I'd be destroying my artbooks, but do you think that the paintings, if properly framed, would last a long time and look fine framed?

I'm considering this because buying single framed color reproductions can be pricy. Single framed reproductions often costs as much, if not more, than entire artbooks. And usually only the most famous paitings -- not necessarily "best" paintings -- can be found as single framed reproductions.

So yeah . . . cutting out reproductions from artbooks and framing them myself would save me a ton of money and would provide me with a much bigger selection of artworks to decorate my place with.

Anyway, thanks. I await your responses.
posted by GlassHeart to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I do it ALL the time. My dad taught me the trick and I thought it was brilliant. As long as they aren't in direct light, I haven't had a lot of issues with fading over the course of years.
posted by Zophi at 2:29 PM on November 8, 2011

Mixed feelings. They would look okay, although the sizes would be off. If you have any rare or now hard-to-find books.... I'm squeamish about that.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 2:31 PM on November 8, 2011

The paper in these books tends to be glossy, so see how it works with the light where you're going to hang it. You might need to get a different (clearer) grade of glass/plastic than you would have if the actual piece inside was non-glossy.
posted by griphus at 2:31 PM on November 8, 2011

They would look okay, although the sizes would be off.

Oh, yeah, you'll probably be needing matting in most of them.
posted by griphus at 2:32 PM on November 8, 2011

Response by poster: Lesser Shrew: ". . . although the sizes would be off."

I'm not quite sure what you mean by this.
posted by GlassHeart at 2:47 PM on November 8, 2011

Not a good idea:

1) ruins the books
2) Posters are reasonably cheap, much better quality and a much better scale
3) If the posters are too much for you then grab an image off the internet and have a cheap printer make a poster for you (like even a drug store)
4) Not so classy. Any art lover you talk to will feel sorry for the art book you removed a page from.
5) Books need to be protected. I know that's somewhat laughable now, but really: in our lifetime they will become more and more rare.
posted by Murray M at 2:48 PM on November 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

Librarian's opinion: I think this is fine - I've even got a collection of such pictures waiting to be framed. I found most of them in books being sold by our local Friends of the Library. The books were not rare, and the majority of them had covers in pretty crappy condition. Nothing wrong with the pages, though, so I thought it was better to repurpose them than have them thrown out (which totally happens ALL THE TIME in libraries).
posted by jenny76 at 3:36 PM on November 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

The art is more protected inside the book than on your wall - the light on your wall will destroy the reproductions much faster than if they are normally closed inside a book. I too would argue that books need to be preserved, particularly valuable books containing art, something that is much less reliably reproduced in a digital format.

I'd opt for keeping your lovely art books out on a table or an easily-accessed shelf for regular viewing if you just want to enjoy the images on a regular basis, and then decorating your walls in things that might not be as culturally impactful but perhaps have more personal meaning to you.
posted by Mizu at 3:38 PM on November 8, 2011

I cut out, matted, and framed my two favourite photos from an Ansel Adams wall calendar 16 years ago and am happy with the results. One page (Rose and Driftwood) is hanging in my kitchen on a wall that gets no sunlight with no sign of deterioration that my non-artist eyes can detect.

If I had the chance to redo those pictures, I'd probably still go with the calendar because the other inexpensive reproduction format now widely available is a 16x20" poster which is larger than I'd like.
posted by thatdawnperson at 3:49 PM on November 8, 2011

Re size - I mean that the pictures would be book size, not reproductions the same size as the originals and so, perhaps, out of balance.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:56 PM on November 8, 2011

Best answer: I would use a high quality scanner to scan the images I want out of those books, print those out with ink and paper that doesn't fade easy, frame. Keep the expensive art books intact. Print out again later when you feel like replacin'.
posted by Seboshin at 4:01 PM on November 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

They do make UV glass and plexiglas which would help prevent fading from light exposure. But I costs more.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:25 PM on November 8, 2011

I see little problem if they are your books and are not rare. However, please be careful if you are uncertain of the provenance. If you buy prints or, especially, maps, from a dealer whose reputation is not sterling, there is a small but not insignificant chance that someone has taken an x-acto knife into a library or archive and smuggled them out.

I like the idea of having a book cradle or cookbook stand on an end or coffee table with the page opened to your current favorite print. Change up the pages as per your mood.
posted by Morrigan at 4:53 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd only do it if the books are definitely cheaper than just getting posters of the same prints.

An old roommate of mine used to buy cheap clearance section coffee-table books and cut them up, doing DIY-cut mats and then putting them in cheap frames, and they looked great. (And they made great gifts.) But the critical thing is that the books were cheap. He could buy, say, a giant coffee table book of airplanes or dogs or something for $5 or $10, and it might have 25 or 50 images suitable for framing. Much cheaper than posters that way.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:06 PM on November 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I"d say No but I"m a bit of a purist. I think framing and hanging reproductions in any case is a bit... hmm well cheap and especially cutting them out of books. You ruing the book, and then you just have this weird small print of some famous work in a cheap frame from IKEA.

I know its rather expensive but can't you buy real art, from young unknown artists instead?

My only exception is with Exhibition Postcards / Posters that I've been to. I like the little postcards - but then I never actually do anything with them except maybe stick them on the fridge.
posted by mary8nne at 4:48 AM on November 9, 2011

When I was young and broke I did this with a few things for my little cubicle and went without at home.

Years later I was dating a young woman who made a habit of doing this with Dali works. It looked really cheap and made her already youthful attitude seem that much younger. Further, by having so many small frames with this pieces it seemed cluttered. I cannot emphasize enough what having a couple of sizable pieces of art will do for a home.

If you would like some inexpensive art, original, prints, etc. I would seriously recommend finding some local estate auctions/sales. In the past couple of weeks I've either scored or watched other people score great pieces. Often times for less than $20 which includes the art, matting and a gorgeous frame. Every once in a while the price on something interesting might hit in the high double digits but otherwise it's a screaming deal. I'm sure you could score a couple of pieces for less than what one of your art books might cost.

Please note - any auction at a house that specializes in art is going to run more - this is just at your run of the mill estate auction house.
posted by FlamingBore at 9:24 AM on November 9, 2011

Nothing wrong with this if the books aren't rare. On the other hand, have you thought about buying some display stands that hold the book open at your desired page(s)? Then you can have an ever-changing display and you don't need to faff about matting/framing the pieces.
posted by yoink at 11:41 AM on November 9, 2011

Best answer: I would (and have done so) google the name of the painting then use to find the largest version on available internet, then have them printed by an internet photo shop. If one refuses for copyright reasons, just try another. This way you keep your books in great condition, you can select the size of the images you print, and they should have some uv protection (I'm guessing on that last bit - but you can always order reprints).

Personally, I've always wanted to scan the images in my art books (Sister Wendy's especially) and have them as a screen saver on my TV (with media center). I should my onw tip really.....
posted by guy72277 at 1:09 PM on November 10, 2011

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