This Is the One Piece of Art Your Walls Might Be Missing

updated Feb 15, 2021
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Paintings, photos, prints, woven tapestries, decals, paint — what constitutes “wall art” has certainly evolved over the years, and homes are warmer and more comfortable for it. You can hang baskets, signs, mirrors, garlands, and more. Even shelving could be considered wall art to a certain extent, especially with the sculptural perches I’ve been seeing lately. All of these affordable options are great, but this multiplicity doesn’t stop me from wanting original artwork.

Unfortunately, the fine art market is about as intimidating and inaccessible as it gets, though resources like Uprise Art, Saatchi Art, and even Artsy have made it a tiny bit easier to break into collecting. When you’re out there, masked up at a flea market, estate sale, or antique market, you certainly never know what you might stumble upon. If original art still feels out of reach though, this next trend is for you: artists’ museum and gallery retrospective, show, and exhibition promo posters.

Credit: Chloe Berk

These posters are genius for several reasons. First, they often feature famous artists’ exorbitantly priced popular works, and it’s not like they’re bad copies. Quite the opposite actually; they’re typically a well-designed mix of typography and true-to-life artwork, which can add something dynamic to any art display. Moreover, many posters like this, particularly when framed, are quite large, meaning they’re great anchors for gallery walls and can hold their own as single statement pieces. Just look at all of the house tour photos above and below, where these posters add so much color and personality to each home.

For their size, these posters aren’t too pricey either, although vintage versions are the obvious exceptions. Unfortunately, “old” tends to mean “rare,” which always drives up costs. If you love a certain artist though, it may be worth a mini-splurge for something authentic.

Credit: Submitted by Elyse

As museums and galleries around the world continue to open up, and you make plans to visit safely, keep an eye out for these commemorative posters in their gift shops. You can also find them secondhand, too. Etsy’s another great resource for punchy styles. Here are a few fun options, and note that the simpler your frame, the better for letting the poster itself really shine.

Credit: Etsy

Henri Matisse Art Exhibition Digital Download Poster Vintage Print

Fans of Matisse’s bright florals will love this bold poster design, which clearly pairs well with plants. It’ll work in a minimalist or maximalist style room, and all you have to do is print the piece out at a local copy shop and pop it into a frame.

Buy: Henri Matisse Art Exhibition Poster Vintage Print, $4.99 $4.16 for a digital download

Credit: 1st Dibs

Vintage Alexander Calder exhibition poster 

If you like Calder’s bold mobiles and sculptures, his shapes and colors certainly translate well to paper. This lithographic promotional poster from a 1986 show took its design from something Calder himself had designed over a decade earlier for a 1971 opening.

Buy: Vintage Alexander Calder Exhibition Poster, $395.00 $270.00 from 1st Dibs

Credit: Society 6

Pablo Picasso Exhibition Poster

If you don’t want to spend a lot on an authentic vintage poster but still like this look, you can find tons of exhibition-inspired posters on sites like Society 6. Some vendors specialize in conceptual reimagined prints like these.

Buy: Pablo Picasso Exhibition Poster, $19.99 $11.99 from Society 6

Pollock Poster

A Pollock for less than $25? Count me in! This poster features a reproduction of Jackson Pollock’s “Lucifer” painting from MoMA’s 1998 retrospective. It’s a nice size (20-inches by 40-inches) and shape for hanging over a headboard.

Buy: Pollock: Lucifer Poster, $24.95 from the MoMA Design Store

Credit: AllPosters

AF 1950 – Galerie Maeght

A reproduction of a Miro lithograph first printed in Mourlot’s 1959 book “Art In Posters,” this abstract print is on the smaller side at 9.5-inches by 12.5-inches. Once framed, it’d be a great addition to a gallery wall or a vignette on a shelf.

Buy: AF 1950 – Galerie Maeght, $308.99 $154.49 unframed from AllPosters

Credit: Charish

Georgia O’Keeffe Exhibition Framed Poster

If you’re a fan of Georgia O’Keeffe’s florals, here’s your chance to snag an exhibition poster from her 1980 exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art. This poster comes ready to hang in a gray lacquered wood frame.

Buy: Georgia O’Keeffe Exhibition Framed Poster, $195.00 from Chairish