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As art advisors, we often get questions about how to build and display an art collection. There’s a lot to cover on this topic, so we’re beginning a new Collector’s Series that reveals our best practices on all things relevant to collecting: how to properly light art in your home, how to frame, and much more. If you have any topics that you would like us to cover, drop us a line via socials or email!
Hanging Out With Art

Today, we’re focusing on different methods of display and how they affect your collecting habits. Our number one piece of advice for building a collection: buy what you love. We get it, art is an investment and buying the right thing is important. Often, though, we see people fall prey to the impulse to buy pieces that perfectly “fit,” believing they need to completely fill a big wall or match the dimensions of their sofa. This mindframe can create artificial barriers. As the RRFA team always says: great art looks great anywhere, and art collectors shop for art, not walls.

The Collage

One way to stay out of the wall-size trap is the good, old-fashioned salon style hang. Eclecticism is the goal here, so you can mix and match styles, frames, mediums, new acquisitions, and pieces you’ve had for decades. Shopping for this configuration allows you more freedom to browse and buy what you see value in, no matter the size or shape.

Multicoloured prints hang over the sofa in this room designed by Jennifer Grey Interiors. Photo via Jennifer Grey Interiors. 
Salon-style hang featuring work by Caroline Monnet, Genevieve Cadieux, Jim Dine, and Wanda Koop. Photo via @les_ensembliers.

The Lean

A ledge, like a gallery wall, can accommodate many different things at once. Even better, though, without the need to drill holes, the ledge is easily changeable and can even act as a temporary catch-all space for anything you don’t yet have a permanent home for. At the same time, it’s effortlessly stylish, implying a laissez-faire cool that will never go out of fashion.

A minimalist work leans on the mantelpiece in this Tudor Revival home in Washington D.C. Photo via Architectural Digest. 
Brooke Shields’ home in Greenwich Village features an art ledge with works by Robert Mapplethorpe, Annie Leibovitz,  Richard Avedon, and Adam Fuss, amongst others. 

The Misfit

There’s a way to make art that doesn’t quite fit look intentional. Don’t be afraid to hang a small piece off center on a large wall or suspend works over top of copious wall moldings. Embracing the misfit allows you to shop for art without paying much mind to how it will fit in your space. The best art collections are mobile; pieces circulate from room to room as others are bought or sold. Art collecting is a lifetime pursuit and remembering not to be too precious about a room’s “final form” will pay huge dividends in the end- ensuring you can take advantage of good buying opportunities as they arise.

The Paris living room of designers Luis Laplace and Christophe Comoy. A triptych by Rashid Johnson hangs over antique mouldings. Photo via Architectural Digest.
Ashe Leandro’s New Jersey Beach House Features a painting by Margot Bergman, hanging off-center on a roomy wall. Photo via Galerie Magazine. 
Elle Macpherson’s Florida home featuring works by Andy Warhol, Richard Prince, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Photo via Architectural Digest.

The Unexpected 

Running out of wall space? No problem. Put art where you wouldn’t expect it: in a shower niche, in a closet, or suspended from the face of a bookcase! Art collecting is often cloaked in formality, but it doesn’t have to be. Buying art for the marquee space of your home is great, but populating the more low-key areas with art makes for a life completely suffused with beautiful things. Isn’t that what we want out of collecting anyway?

A compact Cubist piece is tucked away in the oak-lined closet of this 1930s LA home. Photo via Architectural Digest. 
Art is suspended on the face of a bookcase in this Manhattan living room. Photo Via Ries Hayes Studio. 
A Donald Sultan Poppies sculpture sits in the shower niche in the home of one of our clients. Our client often jokes that the sculpture has its own shower cap. 
Multiple Warhol prints hang over a doorway, taking advantage of the horizontal space in this lofty entryway. Photo via Architectural Digest.
One last thing- if you’re building or renovating a house and you have the option, pay special attention to the placement of wall plugs and switches, it’ll multiply your display options. Otherwise, our best advice is not to get too caught up in wall dimensions or perfection. Spaces and homes will change throughout a lifetime. You’ll always be able to find (or make) spots for your beloved art treasures.Don’t forget to reach out with any collecting queries!

Article contributed by Robin Rosenberg Fine Art

More about Robin Rosenberg Fine Art – Robin Rosenberg Fine Art (RRFA) is an international, full-service fine-art firm that specializes in 20th & 21st Century Modern and Contemporary Art by world-renowned artists.

Get inspired by these fun pieces and please contact us if any artists are of interest. Don’t forget to follow us on social media!

Get In Touch!

@robinrosenbergfineart (Instagram)

Robin Rosenberg Fine Art (Facebook)

Robin Rosenberg Fine Art (LinkedIn)


GLW Contributors - Professionals in their field. Contributing to Girls Living Well their knowledge, experience and advice.

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