Thursday, September 2, 2010

Picture this ...

I grew up in a home with an apparent unspoken formula for showing art. “One wall, one framed picture.” Walls were painted white, and each long wall got one big picture – narrow wall, small picture, all hung at eye level. Dad was absolute in correctly measuring the first time, because there was never to be an unnecessary hole in a wall. Never. Ever.

I did not inherit this gene! I’m like some deranged museum curator – placing artwork enmasse on a wall. I’ll just keep adding until it feels right.

It all started with the picture gallery in our little rental
apartment in Paris (above). I just had to come back
and start designing multi-framed art walls at home.
The stair-stepped art placement (left) mimicks the
slant of our living room ceiling.

There are a few secrets to making a visually appealing wall collage, and I think I have it figured out. From my perspective, there must be one of the following: either a horizontal line that all pictures hang above or below, or a vertical line with pictures aligned to the left or right.

Designer Charlotte Moss gives the wall (above left) a casual, French asthetic, using an imaginary line just above the desk as her placement axis.  In a similar way, the hallway gallery on the right (from Domino magazine) has a definite formal flare, taking its horizontal cue from the crown moulding.

Then, there are those galleries that seem to follow no rules for placement, but work perfectly by repeating a single design element.

At left, the aged, gold frames create a sense of harmony. Above, the black elements tie
all of the pictures together in a pleasing way. And, the best part of a less structured display - no measuring tape needed and you can hammer just one nail per picture!

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