Art Reproduction: The Basic Rules

The Starry Night - Painting

Some people have this common misconception about “reproductions not being art.” That these painting replicas are nothing but fakes and that they’re a waste of time to buy. Although everyone is free to think however way they want, I still want to stress my own view of art reproductions. And as far as I’m concerned, they are neither fakes nor frauds. Here are two BIG reasons why I came to this conclusion:

  1. Art reproductions do not try to stage or claim that they’re the real deal. They’re called reproductions because they are reproductions. They aren’t really trying to trick anyone into buying them because they’re legit.
  2. Handmade reproductions still require intense skill. The idea or design behind the masterpiece may not be original but that doesn’t change the fact that the artist behind the reproduction is a genius. It requires talent to create great art. It requires patience, skill, and technique to replicate great art. I for one believe that the challenge of mimicking the exact technique used for a particular painting and producing something that can rival the quality of the original is far greater than creating a unique piece of work.

If you don’t see it the way I do, that’s okay. But if you do, then welcome to the club. Reproduction or not, the hard work invested into every piece is real (see reference). Artists who can recreate art – who can recreate history – deserve at least a little bit of recognition. After all, without them, “not-so-filthy-rich” people like us won’t even get a chance to own and adorn our homes with great art.

However, it is also important to note that not all reproductions are of great quality. In fact, many who attempt fall short of expectations. Trying to copy an original completely is impossible, after all. You can never create the exact feeling nor elicit the exact emotion. But someone with exemplary skills can come close. So how can you tell these prodigies apart from wannabes?

Art Reproduction

The answer’s simple – just follow three rules:

Rule #1: Don’t Ask For the Impossible

Know that there are limits to reproductions. Heck, even 2D reproductions have limitations (see full article: If you want fool-proof perfection, then bid at auctions instead. That is, if you can. The greatest of art reproductions can create a masterpiece that is similar and almost identical to the real thing. But always keep in mind that with reproductions, the word “almost” is always going to be there – almost the same; almost real; almost perfect.

you accept this simple fact, you’ll learn to appreciate reproductions more and see them with the purpose they are created for. And it is not to create fake duplicates and trick people into thinking they’re real but instead make some of history’s greatest masterpieces available for enthusiasts big and small. Not all lovers of art are billionaires, you see. Buying reproductions is a way for them to keep a memory of their favorite paintings without having to break the bank.

Rule #2: Reproductions Aren’t Perfect but They Should Be Pretty Close To It

Art reproductions will never be the same as originals but they should have the kind of quality that can rival them. As I said, there is always going to be an “almost” when it comes to reproductions but “almost trash” doesn’t count. Be mindful of how imperfect or inaccurate a reproduction is. There should only be small discrepancies from the replica and original. It shouldn’t be anything major like The Mona Lisa having on-fleek brows or anything like that. The imperfections should be within reasonable boundaries. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a reproduction anymore – it would be a complete disappointment.

Rule #3: Don’t Go Into Anything Blindly

Reproductions are often pre-ordered. If it’s your first time getting art reproduced, you will be risking a good amount of money on something you are still unsure of – especially when you’re working with an unfamiliar agency or artist. The most you can do in this situation is to try and consult good advice. And where can you find more reliable opinions other than those who’ve gotten the service ahead of yourself?

That’s right. We are talking about personal accounts and testimonials from other enthusiasts like yourself. 1st Art Gallery, for example, encourages its clients to leave them reviews – good and bad – to share their first-hand experience with the reproduction company and for the rest of the world to see. The review system is a double-edged sword, you see. If clients leave good comments and impressions about the service, the company gets good publicity.

But if clients leave dissatisfied reviews, then it could also ruin the company’s reputation. An art reproduction company confident in their skill and work would be willing to undertake this risk. Not to mention, doing so would also leave them open for black propaganda (e.g. competitors leaving fake negative reviews).

Anyway, just stick to these three rules and your art reproduction shopping spree would go without a hitch!