Many have heard the colloquial phrase “home is where the heart is,” but a home can be so much more than that; it is a quiet refuge, a source of inspiration, a place to host guests, and an extension of the self. For art lovers, it may be difficult to imagine their domestic spaces without the inclusion of rare fine art
, but simultaneously challenging to curate one’s collection within the space. As the outermost piece on a wall, fine art is often the final finishing to be installed; this doesn’t, however, mean it should be the last consideration when planning a home.
“Many people, when decorating their homes, do not consider fine art until the very end,” Lynne Lincoln, M.S. Rau’s resident design specialist, shares. “Art is truly the focal point, it is what makes a room, and everything else should be made to fit the art.”
Whether you’re a casual art lover or a seasoned collector of history's most famous artists
, read on to hear Lynne’s thoughts on how displaying fine art
can elevate one’s living space as she explores incorporating fine art into every room of the home.
Fine Art in the Living Room
When first contemplating the interior décor of a living room, it is easy to zero in on selecting furniture — couches, tables or television consoles — without considering how your fine art collection will look in concert with these functional items. When developing living room concepts, however,
finding your personal style and developing your collection is the first step to building the home of your desires.
“Many people select works based on how they will look in a mostly complete room,” Lynne says. “They match strokes of paint to their rugs and styles of art to their architecture. If you think about this long-term, it seems very silly. When people move from home to home and city to city, they get rid of their furniture, they select new rugs and new throw pillows, but most people travel with and treasure their art.”
Serpent vert by Alexander Calder. Dated 1972. Gouache and Ink on Paper. (M.S. Rau, New Orleans)
One of art’s greatest qualities is its ability to elicit emotion from the viewer, creating a connection or distinctive mood. Works like Alexander Calder’s Serpent vert (Green Serpent)
exude a joyful yet frenetic energy that lifts a viewer’s spirits. The playful subject matter, a circus scene alive with motion and fresh, vibrant colors, may be an excellent conversation piece in a living room space, particularly that of a collector with a keen interest in modern art.
The Three Graces by Antonio Frilli. Circa 1895. (M.S. Rau, New Orleans)
The living room is also an excellent location for displaying sculpture
, as the often ample seating allows the pieces to be viewed with ease. For those seeking an elevated sitting room, investing in neoclassical sculpture provides an elegant touch. In this masterfully rendered example from Antonio Frilli, the lustrous white Italian marble perfectly complements the ethereal goddesses, a nod to a bygone classical age.
Fine Art in the Kitchen
“A great way to develop your personal style is to find something already in your life that you love the style of,” Lynne advises. “Maybe it is your favorite blue Angora sweater, or an old tarnished piece of Tiffany silverware, or a house plant from your sister with spiky pink leaves. Use that as a starting point and begin collecting things that vibe with this piece.”
The kitchen may initially seem like an odd place to display fine art. So full of energy and life, the room frequently serves as a place where members of a household can gather and prepare a meal together. Even so, there are ample opportunities to showcase your style within your kitchen.
Morello Pattern Cut Glass Pitcher by Libbey. Early 20th century. (M.S. Rau, New Orleans)
The marriage of aesthetic form and practical function can be an excellent pathway to incorporate fine art objects into this space. Perhaps your tastes gravitate towards the understated elegance of glassware, like the stunning example of American Brilliant Period cut glass
above from the Libbey Glass Company. This American firm’s exquisite quality and cut-glass designs create beautiful refractions of light. This object, once utilitarian in a kitchen setting while still visually impactful and intriguing, can provide decorating inspiration for collectors of American fine art
Fine Art in the Formal Dining Room
La Danse pyrrhique (Pyrrhic Dance) by Jean-Léon Gérôme. Circa 1885. Oil on Canvas. (M.S. Rau, New Orleans)
In the formal dining room, there may be a desire to curate a highly cohesive, refined space for hosting guests; however, this does not mean that all items must match in origin or style.
“Cross-collecting is something that feels fresh and modern but also never goes out of style,” Lynne says. “If done properly, a modern Danish dining table can feel right at home with an antique Moroccan sideboard and a painting by French artist Gérôme.”
If you can’t part with your favorite dining room furniture, but feel as though it competes with the fine art in your collection, don’t fret. “Reframing an art piece is a great way to give the work new life and seamlessly integrate it into your home, regardless of its décor style,” Lynne adds.
Fine Art in the Bedroom
Nymphéas (Water Lilies) by Claude Monet. Circa 1917-1919. Oil on Canvas. (M.S. Rau, New Orleans)
The bedroom, primarily a place to rest and unwind, is an excellent place to display fine art, though the aesthetic considerations may differ from other locations in your house. If your goal is to achieve a quiet refuge, perhaps you would select a subtle work on canvas with a cool and muted palette, like that of French Impressionist Claude Monet
. The blue and green hues of the abstracted landscape and trademark loose brushwork in Monet’s oil on canvas Nymphéas (Water Lilies)
imbue the work with a contemplative and almost dream-like quality.
The greatest piece of advice Lynne offers to those who want to live with fine art: “Do not invest in art to match your room; decorate a room to match your fine art investment.” Taking the time to develop your personal style and collecting interests can be an incredibly rewarding way to reflect parts of yourself in your interior spaces.
If you would like further assistance developing your distinctive interior spaces or displaying your fine art collection in your home, you can reach out to our qualified experts for design services
tailored to your needs.