I'm looking into starting a mural/wall art business and wanted to find out how copyright applies to this sort of work. For example if I had a client that wanted a famous painting recreated in part or in full as a mural on a wall inside their house would that be considered copyright infringement? I wouldn't be claiming the work was mine or recreating it in a traditional sense but I would be making money from it.
Thanks in advance!
If the original work you (or your client) want to copy is still in copyright, then doing this without permission would be infringement. As a rule of thumb, if the original artist is still alive or died less than 70 years ago, his/her work will still be protected by copyright. You, as the person who made the copy, would be liable for the infringement rather than the client.
However, assuming that a work was in copyright and you incorporated within a mural inside a private residence, I think the chances that the artist would find out about it are fairly remote, unless the client was indiscreet and their home appeared in Hello! magazine.