My Favorite Sources to Download Free Vintage Art

Decor & thrifting

Art has the power to transform a space, but I’ve found myself staring at a blank wall more than once wondering where to even start, not to mention, how to afford the art I want on that wall. Filling your home with beautiful art may take time, but it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. As you begin to build a collection of your favorite one-of-a-kind pieces, you might like to supplement with some timeless classics that you can print right at home!

As a designer and stationer, I have had the pleasure of sourcing all kinds of beautiful artwork to use in creative projects – from brand development to wedding invitation suites. Now, I’m sharing some of my favorite sources to download free (yes, free) vintage art so you can bring your walls and spaces to life, now!

Collections to explore:


A couple of things to keep in mind when downloading open access artwork

Explore keywords, phrases and search criteria to generate different results.

Unless you have a particular work of art or artist in mind, you’ll find that your search terms often bring up totally unexpected results. I think that’s part of the fun! I’ve stumbled upon some incredible pieces that I never would have found without digging deep into the archives.

Screenshot: The Met

Usage rights and permissions vary from work to work.

Much of the artwork found on these sites is available for you to download and use freely, but some are restricted. Be sure to read this information in each artwork’s description and each site’s terms of use to ensure you are being respectful of these rights. On behalf of artists near and far, treasured and controversial and up and coming and yet to be discovered, thank you!

Downloaded artwork may need to be resized before printing.

I typically download the largest size JPEG available to ensure high quality resolution, but the file might be quite large. There are several ways to resize the image. I like to use Adobe Photoshop, but you can also resize your photos on a Mac using the Preview app or by using one of several free image resizing tools on the web like imageresizer.com. It doesn’t take more than a minute or two, but if this is unfamiliar territory definitely reach out to your printer for assistance.

Screenshot: Smithsonian

I hope you enjoy searching through these collections and rediscovering art and artists you’ve always loved, or encountering new works that light you and your home up. Even more, I hope this inspires you to get out and visit some local and well-loved museums in person. It might be just the creative spark you were looking for!

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