Buying high-quality art prints online
June 20, 2020 8:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm seeking your positive/negative experiences with sites that sell so-called "museum quality" art prints, like Have you purchased a (large) print from them and been happy with the results? Did shipping work out okay? Are there good sites out there that do this that you recommend but don't show up on the first couple pages of Google search results for art prints? I know that buying prints directly from the museums that hold the artwork is a good bet, but I'm seeking feedback on non-museum sites here.

Specifically, I'm looking for a large format, high-quality print of David Hockney's "Early July Tunnel." I see it might be available via artnet, but it looks like you have to subscribe to even see pricing information? Bonus points if you know where I could find this particular print, but I am also looking for general advice on buying prints online.
posted by codhavereturned to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Looks to me as if artnet is geared more towards purchase of originals than of prints. I think if you signed up, the price you'd be able to see there is what the original artwork went for at auction.

To save other people following these particular blind avenues for the specific picture you're after: I thought the Royal Academy might be able to help you out - pretty sure I saw the work in question there, in their Hockney exhibition a few years ago - but it doesn't look as if they've got a print on offer. And there's an outside possibility that this search at the online Museum of Many Artists might lead somewhere useful at some point, but it doesn't include "Early July Tunnel" at present.

Sorry this is all negatives! I hope you find it, and I'll be interested to see what other people have to say about their experiences buying prints.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 10:12 AM on June 20, 2020

I recently bought a few prints from The arrived safe and sound in a tube. The large print I got does not look good up close, but it’s fine I guess.
posted by Grandysaur at 11:15 AM on June 20, 2020

I’ve bought a few large things from and been very happy, but they may not have the specific piece you’re looking for.
posted by mmc at 3:35 PM on June 20, 2020

Large format printers from even 15 years ago are capable of producing prints almost indistinguishable from the original art in colour and tone, and the software is such that any reasonably competent operator can produce a perfect print by clicking a button.

The only thing that makes any difference is the quality of the reproduction file, whether it was scanned from the original artwork or photographed with a medium format digital camera. If someone bought a large print that looked bad close up, that's because the reproduction file was not created to gallery standard.

So what you should look for is a company selling art prints that talks about how the original art was scanned/photographed, and is proud of how this is done, and whether the original artist (if still alive) has signed off on the reproduction's quality or not.

Because any idiot can run off a print, but creating a good repro file requires a lot of skill, a large studio space and some very expensive equipment. (I used to do all of this for a living.)
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:15 PM on June 20, 2020 [4 favorites]

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