When it comes to showcasing artwork at home, gallerist Rebecca Moore says finding “balance” is key.
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While art galleries traditionally display art against stark white walls, amply spaced to accentuate the work itself, there are no firm rules when it comes to hanging (or propping) paintings in your living space. “Everyone has a different aesthetic taste—that is the beauty of art and also how you showcase it,” says Somerville Manning Gallery director Rebecca Moore, who herself is a “lover of symmetry.”
Staging art, however, is an art in itself. Those with an eye for it can pull a collection together even in unexpected ways—pieces layered over loud wallpaper or leaning against a wall, for instance—without having it look haphazard. For neophytes, Moore offers some advice to “hang” onto.
I love symmetry.
If I had three paintings—two of similar size and one slightly larger—I would hang the larger in the middle, with the two smaller flanked on either side.
You can mix art and photographs in one space. I love when people mix different subjects, mediums and colors. Trust your creative gut. Experiment and have fun. Try different combinations until you find one that works.
I recommend using mats for smaller works on paper or photographs to give the piece a little bit more presence. However, I have seen a recent trend of not having mats on larger works on paper, which is a great way to give even a more traditional work on paper a modern makeover.
It’s fine to mix frames, but make sure there is a balance. Don’t have all gold frames and just one big black one on one wall. If they are on different walls, everything is fair game. The visual separation of different walls can give each piece its own space to shine while also creating an interesting conversation between other pieces in the room.
A collage wall is very trendy right now, and I think it’s a great opportunity for people to express their own creativity in how they hang it. To keep the chaos under control: Choose a specific space for your collage wall and do not go outside that space; while all pieces do not need to line up, it often looks best if the amount of space between the pieces is generally equal; combine small and larger works together to create balance—incorporating larger works will help focus the eye.
When hanging a piece on a wall by itself, I recommend having the center of the work be approximately 60 inches off the floor. This is generally eye level and will showcase the work in the base sightline. When hanging over furniture, it is best not to have the painting be wider than the furniture. If you are hanging a single piece that is not centered on the wall, use other accents like clocks, mirrors or furniture to offset and create balance.
Published as “The Art of the Display” in the May 2020 issue of Delaware Today magazine.