Art for Christmas - the Ultimate Gift Guide

by Lisa Doherty 21. November 2018 11:24

Art, in all its amazing forms, is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s a really personal and thoughtful present for loved ones, friends or even that certain someone you’ve been trying to impress!

We’ve got a whole heap of gifts to choose from, and here are some of our top picks and tips on buying the best presents.

Paintings

There are over 42,000 art works on ArtGallery, so we’re pretty confident you’re going to find the perfect gift.

Paintings last almost forever and are a great way to show how much somebody means to you. They even look great under the Christmas tree!

The challenge with art is that it’s very subjective, so when choosing a gift always keep the person you’re buying for at the very front of your mind. In most cases, the rule of thumb is to buy a present that you’d like to get, but in the case of art, think about what the other person would want.

If you’re going to visit that person before the festive period, it’s worth checking out what they hang on their walls to give you inspiration. If they mainly have photography or abstract art, then a traditional landscape scene is probably not going to be their preferred style of art.

Having said that, there’s nothing wrong with shaking things up a bit. Sometimes a leftfield gift can be a great way to introduce new styles and themes. If you think a particular painting would look great in their home, then a good compromise could be to fuse two styles.

For example, an abstract landscape may be something they’ve not considered before.

Sculpture

Why not get off the wall and get three-dimensional with a gift of sculpture. If you feel buying a painting is just too much of a risk, then sculpture can be the perfect alternative.

There are so many styles and forms that suit every style of interior.

The fact that sculpture is mainly made from neutral-coloured and textured materials means it’s a really versatile medium. Even if you choose a more traditional theme, such as a nude, it’s hard to go wrong, even in a highly contemporary room or house.

Sculpture also looks amazing in an outdoor setting, so if you’re buying for a keen gardener, a piece of art could transform their garden and help bring out the style or theme of the outdoor space.

Finishing touches

Art can even help accessorise a room, which is why we have a gift shop on our site with an extensive range of finishing touches to help complete a look or room set.

Lighting is an important part of the interior design process, so buying a light sculpture can help shape a room and its mood. It also serves two purposes, as it’s not just a piece of art, but a functional gift as well. Ideal for the more practically-minded amongst us.

On the theme of practical gifts, form and function can take shape in so many objects. If you’re buying for a person who doesn’t really have an interest in painting or sculpture, then what about a useful household item, such as a teapot or soap dispenser?

Art can present itself in so many ways, so even for the most practical of people, there’s a way to give them something visually outstanding that has a useful purpose.

Sports enthusiasts

Buying for a sports enthusiast does make the gift-giving process a lot easier. There are many artists painting scenes of sports people, horses or competitions in action, so there’s something for every sports fan.

For example, if you know someone who is devoted to a particular football team, there are paintings of stadiums to delight, and even portraits of footballing legends to really help fuel their passion in the sport.

Christmas budget

As much as we’d love it, we don’t all have a disposable budget at Christmas, which is why we have a selection of art for every pocket. Whether it’s a few pounds or thousands, we have something for everyone.

Not only do we sell works for people making a long-term investment, but we also sell pieces for under £50. Currently, we have a range that includes a framed print by Claudinne Peronne, for all those cat lovers out there, and some Pop Art by Lee Proctor.

Even our gift shop sells items for the budget conscious, and the reason for this is because we believe in art for everybody, and not something that is the preserve of the rich and famous.

I haven’t got a clue

If the process is proving to be tougher than you thought – after all there are 42,000 pieces to choose from! - then there’s always a Gift Voucher. It’s still a great gesture and it means you can feel more confident that that person will choose a piece of art they love.

We sell Gift vouchers to suit every budget, that start from as little as £5, and go right up to as much as £500.

Whichever way you look at it, art as a gift is a highly personalised gesture that has a positive impact on many levels. What better way to show someone how much they mean to you than a present that isn’t disposable, but lasts for years, if not a lifetime.

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Buying Art

Art for Interiors: Sculpture

by Lisa Doherty 9. November 2018 15:52

It’s a common feeling that sculpture is for large houses or stately homes, and that it can be a little, well, fusty and old fashioned.

The good news is that this isn’t necessarily the case. Sculpture can be a dynamic and engaging art form for any size of house. From a stately home to a studio, sculpture can work in any environment.

Let's take a look at how this medium has changed over the years to become an artform that can bring any interior to life.

History of sculpture

As one of the oldest forms of art, sculpture dates back to ancient Greece and Egypt, perhaps even before. We’ve all sat through history lessons and seen sculptures of figures standing in a set pose, or military statues where the hero strides and looks to the future, but this medium has evolved a lot since then.

Throughout history, sculpture was a way for the rich, famous or heroic to preserve their name in history. Whether that was the sitter in a formal pose or represented as a Greek or Roman myth. This is why a lot of this art form represents people in a lifelike pose, part of a story or staring out as a formal head and shoulders bust.

Auguste Rodin is seen as a key figure to break sculpture out of referencing history and the Greek myths to become art in its own right. He believed in creating figures in more natural poses that were more about the human form and emotion than history.

Just look at his masterpiece, The Kiss. There’s nothing formal about that sculpture.

The Kiss by Sara Sutton
The Kiss by Sara Sutton

Following Rodin, there was Constantin Brancusi who turned sculpture into an abstract art form, as well as Alberto Giacometti, whose iconic figures helped change perceptions of sculpture.

It was these artists who helped allow sculpture to be whatever the artist wanted it to be. It was no longer about a historical reference or pose, but about expression and emotion.

What style to choose

There are no hard and fast rules with sculpture. This is because the artist is working 3-dimensionally, which gives them so much more scope for their imagination to run free. Of course, we still see ‘traditional’ figurative forms, but now we also have abstract and conceptual sculpture.

Abstract sculpture is mainly made up of shapes and distorted forms and tends to work well with modern or minimalist interiors. Like painters, sculptors also look to capture movement or flow in their works, and abstraction is a great way to capture this in 3-D form.

Conceptual sculpture is that notorious form of art that usually leads to viewers in art galleries saying; ‘I could do that’. Yep, it’s that pile of bricks or chair in the middle of a room that leaves people baffled as to why it is art.

This form of sculpture is challenging, often deliberately provocative, and can be quite hard to read. However, it is this challenge that makes conceptual art so much more rewarding. It makes you think and leaves you with more questions than answers. Having a piece in your home will never be boring, that’s for sure!

With sculpture, you don’t have to stick to one particular style. Having a mixture in your home can work well. Like a gallery wall, sometimes opposing forms can really stand out when placed together.

Sculpture for the garden

Sculpture can be created using a wide range of materials. The traditional materials were bronze and marble, but now it can be anything from iron to stone, to papier mache and include found and upcycled materials. 

One of the key reasons for using bronze or marble is that it is extremely hard wearing and durable. It’s a good material for a piece that is going to stand outside in the elements.

When choosing sculpture for the garden, it’s really important to look at what material it has been made with as it may not be ideal for outdoor purposes. Most garden sculpture is made with durable, or recycled metals to ensure it can withstand the wind and weather. Wood is also a good material as it is natural and designed to be outside.

For example, you may think plastic is perfect, but if left in direct sunlight, the colour can fade and it can become brittle over time. Either way, if you’re unsure, then it’s always worth asking the artist, who can then advise on the best location for the piece.

What size for your space?

Most sculpture is now made for the desk, table top, mantelpiece or wall. It’s only really garden sculpture that tends to be larger in size and scale. The days of sculpture only belonging to the super-rich or aristocracy are long gone. Instead, this is an affordable artform that can sit well within any domestic setting.

When we think of art we do tend to think more about paintings, but sculpture is also a form that is worth considering. If you live in rented accommodation or a listed building or any other environment where there may be issues with putting things on walls, you can still liven up your place with 3-dimensional art.

No matter what your space, sculpture can transform it. Make it a focal point to create a vibrant room designed to impress friends and family alike.

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