Copies of Famous Art Pieces: Is It Legal to Own One?

Copies of Famous Art Pieces: Is It Legal to Own One?

Not everyone can afford to buy a Monet, a Van Gogh, or something from a contemporary artist. Their art pieces cost a fortune. Why do they cost so much? Art pieces – especially paintings – by famous people are valuable and rare. Also, many of them are in museums or owned by prominent people around the world who could afford their exorbitant prices. But it should not hinder us from owning a famous piece. We can buy replicas and copies of Mona Lisa, Starry Sky, and others. But is it legal?

Can anyone make copies?  

Pablo Picasso

Basically, anyone can make copies of famous paintings and sell them for a fraction of the cost of the original piece. It only becomes illegal when you sell it as your own. Many artists replicate other artists’ works, but they give credit to the original. Many art enthusiasts turn to artists to have their favorite classic pieces recreated at prices that will suit their budget. 

Are copies as valuable as the original?

Original art pieces sell for millions of dollars, but reproductions cost a lot less. This allows ordinary people to own a piece of history that they can put up at home or in the office. What makes original pieces so expensive? For one, it is the artist that fetches a high price for their art. The more famous the artist, the pricier the painting.

Prices of reproductions may also vary depending on the artists that make them and the medium by which they were recreated. For example, a painting that was printed will be much cheaper than a hand-painted one. Some artists already fetch a high price for their replicas, and there are some that sell them at meager prices. You can compare the quality before you decide which one to purchase. 

Painting your own version

You can also make one of your own using your preferred media for your own use and enjoyment. Most artists in the Renaissance era have their works in the public domain, meaning anyone can recreate their work without any legal responsibility. You can paint, print, or embroider your preferred painting on any material.

Where to buy copyrighted pieces

Some art collectors who bought original works commission artists to make replicas of the pieces they own so they could still put them on display and allow anyone to admire the work while keeping the original kept safely. Because original art pieces are sometimes hundreds of years old, they are fragile and may deteriorate under normal conditions. They require special handling and storage to preserve their condition. You can commission an artist to make you a copy of your preferred art. You can look at listings online for shops or artists that specialize in this type of art. 

There are different media that artists use in recreating paintings. Some use the same media as the original, while some innovate and use photography, print, embroidery, and other forms. You can even go to exhibits of recreated art pieces and purchase one that you can add to your collection without running your bank account dry.

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