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Top five things you need to know when buying a vintage poster

Posted on December 11 2020

Top five things you need to know when buying a vintage poster

Looking for some new wall art? Maybe you’ve even found the fine art print of your dreams for your living room. Before you hand over your hard earned readies, here’s our handy guide to buying a vintage poster.

How can you tell if a poster is vintage?

Maybe you’re at a flea market or a cute little poster shop in an artsy part of town, or maybe you’ve just stumbled across an image you like online, how can you tell if the object of your heart’s desire is the real deal? In terms of wall art for sale, there are really only a few options out there; original artworks, limited edition prints and reproductions. Let’s take for example, Gris by Wassily Kandinsky. The original was produced in 1931. And in 1953 a limited edition collection of 300 silkscreen prints or serigraphs was created, with each print numbered, signed and stamped by the artist’s wife, Nina Kandinsky. (To recognise these, an authentic, and corroborated, provenance, a trustworthy art dealer as well as a patina of age, a few creases and nicks, price and gut instinct should be your guides here.) And then of course, there’s the reproduction fine art print, which is not only more affordable, but can even be much clearer and brighter than an original.

Gris by Wassily Kandinsky

Serigraph or lithograph, this fine-art print by Wassily Kandinsky is always an eye-catcher.

 

What size art print should I get?

Truth is, there’s no such thing as a standard poster size. There are however common frame sizes,  and standard paper sizes (most often from A3 to A0). High-quality poster makers will also print custom sizes, and if you’re framing your print, you can request a 1cm border so that the design isn’t cut off. If you’re ordering canvas (more on that later) to wrap over a wooden frame, you might want to request a 2cm border around the print, so that as much of the print as possible is visible. 

How do I hang my vintage poster?

Are you lucky enough to have a tokonoma, a Japanese niche, and change your wall art every month? Well, if you do change your Japanese posters with the comings and goings of the seasons, you might want something simple like a magnetic poster hanger. If you’re framing your dream vintage poster somewhere special, you could also splash out on a high-quality frame. Wooden frames are great if you’re after a natural, classic look. While black or white frames complement all prints and can either blend into a white wall or create a border around your art.

Bring a waterfall inside your living room with this print, available in large-format 100% cotton canvas.

Bring a waterfall inside your living room with this print, available in large-format 100% cotton canvas.

 

Should my wall art be printed on fine art paper or canvas?

When printing on paper, look for a minimum gsm (grams per square metre) of 90. The higher the gsm, the more luxurious your vintage print will feel. And the heavier the stock, the more durable and crease-resistant your poster will be. We print on high-quality 225 gsm. You should also make sure the paper is acid-free, as this will prevent your fine art poster from yellowing with time. Art paper has a finish (either high gloss, silk or semi gloss, or matte) – here at Kuriosis we choose a matte finish to minimise unwanted reflections – as well as a dispersion coating, which makes the paper more receptive to ink, sealing the colour close to the surface, allowing for sharp contrasts. While cotton canvas is often seen as more luxurious, it’s a great (and often cost-effective) option for displaying large-format prints, as it’s a lot lighter to hang. And in contrast to framed prints, there’s very little glare. There’s more texture to cotton canvas, and it absorbs ink differently to paper, making the image look more like a painting. And they’re also great for sem-humid environments like bathrooms. 

 

How do I know if it’s a high-quality print?

The best quality chromolithographic printing is fine art or giclée printing (from the French for squirt), which spray the ink from a nozzle. And alongside the paper (or canvas) they’re printed on, giclée prints require a 300 dpi resolution and are often printed on printers with over 12 ink cartridges for a wide colour gamut. All our images are scanned at 1200 dpi and printed at the highest resolution. Often, it’s the high-quality inks though that will make your print really sing. Rather than cheaper, soluble dye inks, we prefer pigment inks, which are particles of colour suspended in an emulsion, giving longer lasting, fade-resistant and more vivid colours. They’re even waterproof on paper and canvas as the printer niftily preheats them. Both inks and paper can be designated “museum” or “archive” quality, which means that they are UV resistant and don’t fade. Not even for 100 years!

 

If you’ve any other questions about the paper or inks we use, just get in contact.

Whatever kind of print you’re looking for, kuriosis.com has a vintage poster for you.

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