Definition of Vintage Art


The broad definition of vintage art is generally commercial artwork created from the 19th through the mid-20th century. Vintage art is not to be confused to the works of painters using watercolors and oils on canvas.


  • Vintage art includes 19th century postcards, prewar movie posters, orange crate labels, World War II-era aircraft nose art, Victorian-era signs and cards, Depression-era Works Progress Administration art and propaganda posters, according to

Magazine Covers

  • A prime example of vintage art is the work of illustrator Norman Rockwell's magazine covers for the Saturday Evening Post.

Cultural Context

  • Vintage art reflects the artist's interpretation of a specific era. The Gibson Girl, for example, exemplified Charles Gibson's ideal of the feminine beauty in the context of late 19th century North America.

Furniture Art

  • The Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements of the early 20th century inspired streamlined and industrial-style architecture, murals and furniture that are considered works of vintage art.

Propaganda Art

  • Propaganda posters in a political context extolling the virtues of American patriotism, the Cold War Soviet industrial work ethic and even fascism are vintage art.


  • Original vintage poster art is expensive, but numerous companies sell reproductions at a fraction of the cost.

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  • Photo Credit Image by, courtesy of Martin Beek
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