Same Art, Three Ways

I’ve had the same group of art (give or take) that I’ve hung in various ways on the walls of the last three places I’ve lived. While there are definitely certain combination’s and pairings that work, it seems each move that the actual space itself dictates the way the art is arranged. Above is the corner space of my first, tiny Manhattan apartment, a whopping 400 square feet that I shared with my husband!

This was the one and only main room (besides our bedroom; the kitchen was actually against the back of this space) and so we had to make it serve several purposes. Instead of paint the walls which would have been a hassle since we were just renting, I decided to just cover every inch with art.

People often say that exposed brick is “sacred” or something. Clearly, I don’t subscribe to that theory. This was my attempt to lighten up what felt like a heavy dose of terracotta! All of the pieces here have bright white mattes, which makes it all seem to go together, despite the various styles. I also went crazy hanging things above our bed, which I featured in a previous post.

Then we moved uptown, into what felt like a mansion. A whole 700 square feet! This space had taller ceilings, white a bright white feel to it. Notice how I kept the two prints paired together again, but also hung them with a smaller, square painting.

In this space I was lucky enough to acquire a large abstract painting that my dad did on paper. I adore it, and wanted it to be on display with nothing else surrounding it. The abstract drawing study, also by my dad, now hung on it’s own against the industrial bookshelf, as opposed to before, when it was centered in a group against the brick wall.

This apartment screamed for more abstract and modern art, so I ended up painting over many of my more impressionistic landscape paintings. Case in point, the green and white Rothko-rip-off was once the tree filled landscape from the first image in this post. I still paired it with the smaller beach landscape because the colors go so nicely together.

A gallery style hanging of paintings, drawings and prints really happened to be leftovers after I hung all of the more serious art. This has a “more is more” quality to it. Plus, it was nice to look at when you were sitting on the sofa, which was located on the wall opposite to it.

So finally we arrive at my current home in Charlottesville. I’ve painted the walls in this space and, therefore, have been more intentional about what I hang where. You see, again, that same pairing of oils, but this time I’ve flanked them with two of my dad’s abstracts, along with two drawings. This particular grouping of art works well because of the similar cool tones each piece has; it feels pretty grown-up, with the sideboard below it!

In my living room (although I’m constantly changing things around) I’ve attempted to counterbalance the traditional, Jeffersonian molding with modern art. My dad ‘s painting hangs solely on the right wall above the love-seat.

Some hanging tips:

  • Don’t get caught up in measuring everything out. Just eyeball it. Chances are it will work out just fine, and if not, it will mean you have to add something else to the grouping to balance it out, which actually usually looks better.
  • Group things by color, not by style. I’m all for a mix of photography, prints, drawings, and paintings. This works especially well when you’re dealing with pieces of art that don’t really stand out on their own.
  • Recognize when something looks better solo. Or a pairing of two pieces that work well together. But don’t get too matchy, matchy! Art should never match.
  • As a painter myself, I’m always getting restless with my previous paintings. There’s no rule that says you can’t change something to fit the space. Get out your paints or pencils and go for it!

About Cate

Cate is a former decorating editor of a shelter magazine based in Manhattan, who has recently moved from the Big Apple to Charlottesville with husband and baby. An interior design enthusiast, she enjoys all things aesthetic.
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3 Responses to Same Art, Three Ways

  1. deborah phelps says:

    So very good! Love to the three of you.ddp

  2. I like the hanging tips, especially the one about not getting hung up with measuring. Making things too even looks unnatural.

  3. DZ says:

    Those hanging tips are worth their weight in gold. Counter-intuitive and inspired.

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