Art for your home can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Much of the art you see at your favorite stores is actually public domain and today I’m going to share with you free art sources that you can download, print and frame for your home.
I discovered public domain art two years ago and wish I would have known of it sooner. These art sources are open to the public which means anyone can use them. I have an entire gallery of vintage art you can download for free and who doesn’t love free artwork?
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Hunting for your own art can be a lot of fun…and it’s addicting. These 15 free art sources will get you well on your way to finding something that works for your home. I have also included some downloads in this post all ready for you to download and print.
What is Public Domain Art?
Free art sources fall under Public domain meaning that music, text and art are absolutely free to be used and copied all you want.
WHAT?? Yes…if it falls under public domain in the Unite States, it is free to use. Other countries have different copyright laws, but they are similar.
If a book, song, movie, or artwork is in the public domain, then it is not protected by intellectual property laws (copyright, trademark, or patent laws)—which means you can use it for free without permission.
Still wondering…”what’s the catch” to these free art sources?
Most works of art enter public domain because of their old age. For works created after January 1, 1978, the copyright lasts for the life of the author, composer or artist plus an additional 70 years. Works published prior to 1923 have been in public domain since 1998.
All works first published or released before January 1, 1927, have lost their copyright protection, effective January 1, 2022. In the same manner, each January 1 will result in literature, movies and other works released entering the public domain. Works additionally enter the public domain automatically when copyright has expired.
How Can I Use Public Domain Images?
There are many uses for public domain art both personally and professionally.
Print Public Domain Images
You can download and print the art as is or edit if you are versed in Photoshop. Print to a high quality paper, frame it, print it to canvas, etc.
If you have a Samsung Frame TV you can add these public domain images to your television to display art that way as well. In order for the art to fill the frame of the television, you will need to ensure your images are sized to 3840 x 2160px
Sell Public Domain Art
Once a piece of art has entered public domain, it’s legally acceptable to print and sell. Select your art from safe sources such as the list provided above.
Many shops on Etsy and even Studio McGee use public domain art. Often times these shops will alter the image by adjusting colors, sizing and cropping to create custom art for their stores. The finished, framed and printed artwork can be costly, but you can also do this yourself and save hundreds. Many shops sell just the print that you can download if you don’t want to spend time searching for art yourself.
You can even manipulate public domain art and create something unique and sell it in an Etsy shop or another online platform.
15 Best Free Art Sources:
- Art Institute of Chicago
- BioDiversity Heritage Library
- The Cleveland Museum of Art
- Indianapolis Museum of Art
- J Paul Getty Museum
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- The Met
- Missouri History Museum
- National Gallery of Art
- Saint Louis Art Museum
- The Walters Art Gallery
- Wikimedia Commons
- Yale Center for British Art
- Yale University Art Gallery
Public Domain Art Favorites
I went ahead and searched for downloads using the list of my free art sources favorites and wanted to share them with you. 15 art downloads ready for you! Just click on the link which will direct you to one of the art museum sites and then download the image. Vintage art is all the rage right now, and for good reason. It’s gorgeous and timeless.
Art Hunting Tips:
- Select images that you love and fit with your overall decor
- Select the largest file size to download for best quality when printing
- Some pieces might be an odd size that will require a custom frame; keep this in mind. Select pieces that are standard sizes to keep things cost effective
- Print on high quality paper or stretched canvas (for art you plan to use for a while)
How Do I Print Free Art?
Printing on high quality paper is best or even print your download to canvas (as long as it’s high resolution). If I am looking to add something to a frame right away, I will print on my home computer, but this is not ideal.
Ink is expensive and ordering it on line is usually best. Rarely will I print at home, but have used Walgreens Photo quite often because they are usually ready in a couple of hours. Order online and pick up and pay in store.
Many times Walgreens Photo has coupon codes making your purchase fairly minimal. I usually print an 8×10 but occasionally print a poster size depending on what I am creating.
Free Art Source Printing Recommendations:
- Walgreens Photo – pick up same day, usually
- Office Depot
- Staples – pick up same day, usually
- Overnight Prints
- Vista Print
- Giclee Today
Final Thoughts on Free Printable Art
Everyone loves something free as long as it is something useful and to me…free downloadable vintage art is useful. I have used free vintage art all over my home. You don’t have to limit yourself just to vintage pieces; look for anything with expired copyright laws to use for decor in your home.
Hope this list of free printable art sources was beneficial to you and your home decor journey.