Art as an investment - A few handy tips..

by Robb Shingles 22. May 2019 13:35

Katie Hope, business reporter for the BBC in a recent article, seemed to summaris the general consensus when buying artwork as an investment, when she said “It's a fantasy akin to winning the lottery.”

Whilst we at ArtGallery.co.uk concede that it is incredible difficult, is in a rare talent and very difficult to master, there are certainly things any art lover can do to give themselves the best chance, which we delve into further on in the piece.

Patrick Connolly, a financial adviser at Chase de Vere gave the best advice, which was simply “with extreme caution”, and we couldn’t agree more with him. Now this is a sentiment we agree with wholeheartedly.

The below is a handy guide, but it is by no means exhaustive. If you are keen to buy artwork specifically as an investment, we absolutely recommend seeking expert, professional advice.

 

What to choose?

We’d always recommend buying what you love. Just because you’re buying as an investment, it doesn’t mean you should try and jump into a potential buyer’s shoes. Stick to what you know and love, and don’t be led solely by a painting’s financial worth or the artists reputation. If you’re new to art and you aren’t what your tastes are, visit your local art gallery! Browsing an art gallery is a good way to experience new types of art and can broaden your horizons.

When considering art as an investment, it’s also worth finding out about an artist’s beliefs, creative processes and overall vision. To find this out, speak to gallery staff, they should have an excellent relationship with their exhibiting artists and be able to explain everything you need to know.

Expanded XL, by Peter Nottrott

 

As with real estate, it’s all about location, location, location!

Where you place/hang your artwork can make a huge difference and greatly enhance the overall impact if placed in the appropriate place. It ensures the best light, the right view and the ideal focal point. "People have a tendency to hang art too high," says Linda Crisolo, Art.com director of merchandising. "The center of the image should be at eye level."

 

Apple on Books, by Jean-pierre Walter

 

Planning ahead for future valuation

One fantastic positive about buying art as an investment, is that you can enjoy it in the meantime!

As with all this, an expert opinion is certainly worth the money. There are many expert art consultants out there, usually on the end of a Google search.

 

A Girl Like You, by Antigoni Tziora

 

If you need any advice from us, give Chloe in our Sales team a call/email.

[email protected]

Call 01666 505 152

 

 

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Art History | Buying Art

Paintings of Pets - Capturing Animal Spirit in Art

by Toby Ward 20. February 2019 15:00

This week, pet owners show off their special animal friends on Love your Pet Day.

Studies have shown that owning a pet can increase your chances of being happy and successful. In fact, of 1,000 pet owners studied, researchers found that they brought laughter to six in 10 owners and made seven in 10 feel more relaxed.

As a nation of die-hard animal lovers, it’s not surprising our furry (and feathery and scaly) friends make us happy.

Animals are hugely popular subjects for artists, and why we have hundreds of paintings of all kinds of wildlife. 

Pets in art

Dogs and horses have always been incredibly popular in the history of art.

Some of the earliest cave paintings ever discovered is of horses. Many years before horses were domesticated they were being carefully observed and recorded by humans.

Renaissance artists painted their subjects with their dogs. Dogs symbolised loyalty, faithfulness, protection and love. One of the most well-known and recognised being Velazquez’ ‘Las Meninas’ where a dog snoozes in the corner, or Jan Van Eyck’s Arnolfini marriage where a puppy is at the forefront of the painting.

Here's a modern cat-tastic take on the Arnolfini Portrait.

 The Arnolfini Marriage. Feline art by Olga  Koval
The Arnolfini Marriage. Feline art by Olga Koval

One of the most famous animal painters of all time was George Stubbs who became internationally recognised for his horse portraits, and still is today. His lifelike studies show incredible detail that have influenced so many painters with horses being a subject that remains very popular.

Animals are also the stuff of myths and legends and have captured people’s imaginations for centuries. Unicorns, two-headed dogs, the phoenix have all played a big part of shaping stories for generations.

Domestic pets

Admit it, we all go gaga over a cute cat or dog. We are a nation that’s crazy about pets and animals in general and take their care very seriously.

Cats are loved - perhaps despite their famous ambivalence towards humans - unless they want something of course. Whereas dogs bound around looking for approval and attention from their owners.

Whether you are a cat or a dog person, there’s a lot of art to choose from.

The weird and wonderful

Not everybody sees the beauty in the more conventional pets, such as a cat or a dog, but instead prefer to look after some more unusual creatures, such as lizards or spiders.

These are creatures that require a lot of care and attention, as well as equipment, so people who look after unusual pets, really do have a passion for them.

Pet portraits

Because we are a nation that loves animals, there are artists at ArtGallery.co.uk that can be commissioned to do pet portraits. Elaine Askew is one artist who having lived in Florida for many years, relocated back to the UK and is now inspired by the Durham coastline, and animals.

One of the most popular animal artists on our site is Sam Fenner. Her animal portraits really bring out their individual personalities and character. Unsurprisingly, her paintings capture a range of animals from dogs and alpacas to hares, cows and donkeys.

If you’re keen to have a portrait painted of your pet, then you can commission an artist via the Art Gallery site. Either drop us a line via the Contact Us page, or you can contact the artist direct.

All our artists have a ‘Make Enquiry’ button, so do get in contact with them to find out more.

Special offers

There’s always a great selection of art on our Special Offers page. For a limited time, artists reduce the price on some of their work, so if you’re on a budget, this is a great opportunity to get a great piece at a great price.

It’s also a great way to buy a gift for a close friend or loved one. Art can sometimes be seen as something that is a nice-to-have, so presenting them with a painting or sculpture can show them how it really transforms a room and a person’s mood. Combine these elements with a cute pet image and you’ve got the perfect work of art!

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Art History | Buying Art

Cubist Art

by Toby Ward 12. February 2019 12:30

Are you feeling a bit of a square?

Well, it’s all going a bit square-shaped here at ArtGallery too, as we have gone slightly Cubism-mad!

Cubism is the modernist style that fits perfectlly into smart, stylish or minimalist interiors. Let's take a look at Cubist art - a style that changed the face of art and was the start of what we now call modern art.

The Cubist style has certainly stood the test of time as it still works with a range of interior styles today. 

When is a square not a square?

When photography entered mainstream society there was less of a need for paintings to be so realistic, especially when it came to portraiture. A camera could capture the likeness of a person, which left artists free to experiment with paint, reinvent what art means to society and create new styles.

Enter Picasso.

He realised that art could represent reality in different ways and that we could look at differently. It didn’t have to look ‘real’, so why not show multiple viewpoints and poses simultaneously?

 To test his theory, Picasso painted Les Demoiselles Davignon, which changed the course art and led to the birth of Cubism.

Portrait (cubist) by Stanislav Bojankov
Portrait (cubist) by Stanislav Bojankov

The term cubism comes from the block-like nature of the paintings. In order to fragment the image, Picasso mainly used square shapes to ‘build’ the image. Essentially, he was testing, experimenting and creating new art, which still influences the modern art of today.

Abstract or cubist

Abstract art is about distorting the everyday with the artist showing their own representation of an object or scene.

This can also be applied to Cubism, which is a form of abstract art. It’s a distorted view of reality that serves no other purpose than be a work of art.

Sounds a bit deep, but as the camera captured reality, art then became less about functionality and more about something people could appreciate aesthetically or had to think about.

Interiors

The Cubist style has certainly stood the test of time as it works with a range of modern interiors. If you love a sleek, white interior, then it can add the focal interest to a wall, as well as a pop of colour.

It can also make a great statement piece as visually,  Cubist art is colourful, but often quite challenging. It makes you want to look at it for a while. So hang in a central location where you can get to stop and contemplate it for a while.

Music box (landscape) by Paresh Nrshinga
Music box (landscape) by Paresh Nrshinga

Types of Cubist art

Picasso used a range of subjects for his Cubist paintings. This still applies today with a wide range of themes being captured in this style, such as food, drink, instruments and figures.

Cubist artists tend to use simple shapes and forms. This stems from the fact they like to transform the everyday by distorting the image to make it look as though you’re seeing it from a range of angles.

Artists

There is a wide selection of Cubist art on our site and something to suit for every taste. Arie Coetzee paints abstract images, as well as block-like landscapes and townscapes that are inspired by Cubism.

Neil Hemsley is a digital artist who experiments with a range of styles and themes in his art, from Surrealism to Cubism. He currently has a series of images based on this art movement.

Cubism that doesn't break the budget

There is a wide selection of Cubist art on our site for every budget. Having this style of art on your wall doesn’t need to break the budget. You can buy a work for as little as £90, and then right up to £600.  

If the budget’s looking a bit tight but you’ve seen your dream painting, then there’s always the Own Art scheme to help finance your purchase.

The scheme works on 0% APR and you can spread payments over 10 months, which gives you the opportunity to get that work of art you’ve always wanted to own.

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Art History | Buying Art | The Art World

How to Read a Portrait

by Lisa Doherty 26. September 2018 16:00

Portraits can say so much with so little. Portraiture requires a very high level of skill and it's an amazing form of art.

Even so, portraits are so personal and intimate that some people can doubt whether it's an appropriate form of art to hang in your home. Let us change your mind and show you how this form of art can be really engaging and will mentally always keep you on your toes.

Symbols in portraiture

Before photography, a painted portrait was the only way people could represent themselves to friends, family or potential suitors.

As a result, the artist had to capture and communicate a lot in one image, such as the status of the sitter, whether they were wealthy, from a powerful family or the subject’s profession. One way to communicate this was through symbols, which could be jewellery, clothes or ‘tools of their trade’, such as a map for a merchant or trader.

If you take a look at the images above it is clear that both sitters are wealthy or from successful families. The older lady is wearing gold and pearls and is dressed in a way that we recognise to be the style of mature, affluent people.

Again, with the young girl you can see that she is wearing pearls, a traditional symbol of wealth, and her dress is made with a rich fabric, which could be silk. The necklace with the pendant also represents a figure, which communicates that she is not only from a rich family, but also a powerful one.

If you want to delve a little deeper then both of these paintings can tell us so much more than what we at first see. For example, why is the little girl wearing those particular earrings, what is she holding in her hand, or why is she wearing that dress?

Just as you would look your best for a family photo - you also want to communicate something about you that shows your personality and identifies who you are, and this is no less the case with a portrait.

Playing with the past

Once photography became popular and mainstream, there was no need to accurately represent a person in a painting, so portraiture became more about capturing the ‘essence’ of the sitter.

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, and capturing that depth is key to a good portrait, which can be shown in a variety of ways.

There are some artists that like to merge the present with traditional portraits of the past. Christopher Gill likes to paint contemporary subjects in the style of a Renaissance-style portrait.

By doing this he’s highlighting that there are still similarities and connections between the old and the new. Although the girl in the painting above is in a leather jacket, the painting is framed with traditional gold gilt, typical of a renaissance painting.

The fact that the two elements contrast or conflict with each other, also means it has a great effect. It’s this contrasting of styles, and the associated questions they raise, that makes portraits so interesting.

Contemporary portraits

The pursuit of the ‘essence’ of the sitter remains as strong as ever today, which is why portraits are now captured in so many styles and subjects.

There are some artists that paint abstract portraits in order to catch a mood, and others that use charcoal or pencil to capture the sitter in their ‘rawest’ form.

Using the simplest materials for portraits makes them feel more like ‘studies’ or practice drawings for the final portrait, which is a great way of capturing the subject’s personality.

This was also a practice used by Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael and other Renaissance artists in order to make sure they communicated the right pose and message in their final painting.

Latest artists

There are many artists doing exciting things with portraiture. Dimitris Pavlopoulos paints abstract portraits in a primitive style, which are visually very striking and engaging.

Hannah Musial uses felt pen to create her portraits, which are mainly of women captured in a moment or pose. They really make you think about what the subject is doing or thinking to great effect.

And, Marc Riley paints both abstract and non-abstract portraits that can be quite haunting and dramatic. They would make great standout pieces in a living room or study.

The list of artists could go on as there are many more on our site, but these give you a flavour of how exciting and interesting a portrait can be.

There’s so much more to this style than just a face.

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Art History | Artists | Buying Art

Art for Interiors: Surrealism

by Lisa Doherty 15. August 2018 20:58

How many Surrealists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? A Fish

Not all of us like conventional or traditional art. Some people may want something a little different, something quirky, that gets them thinking and talking. This is where Surrealist art can be a great alternative, it’s weird, whacky and sometimes a little bit bonkers.

Of course, when we think of Surrealism we immediately think of Salvador Dali, but there’s more to this art movement than you’d imagine, and it’s also a great style to hang in the home.

What is Surrealism?

Brace yourself, we’re about to get Metaphysical and Freudian.

The earliest form of Surrealism can be seen in the work of Italian artist, Giorgio De Chirico. He painted dreamlike scenes that had a sense of the otherworldly, or Metaphysical. De Chirico’s paintings were loaded with symbolism and fused with references to psychology, as well as the Greek myths; as you can imagine, they had a profound influence on the Surrealist artists, who were mainly, Rene Magritte, Max Ernst, and the most famous of all, Salvador Dali.

Alongside De Chirico, the surrealists were also heavily influenced by Sigmund Freud. His book, ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ outlined his belief that dreams were driven by the unconscious mind and represented deeper meaning. He felt they were full of symbolism, as well as open to interpretation and analysis to help understand an individual’s state of mind.

Freud’s theories helped shape the themes and content for Surrealist art - think Dali’s melting clocks. Combine De Chirico’s enigmatic spaces with the power and strangeness of dreams, and you have the source of Surrealist inspiration, as well as a deeper understanding of what they attempt to capture in their art.

Capturing dreams

Although Surrealist paintings capture a dream-state, they’re not just random scenes, far from it. This art is loaded with symbolism and meaning and is very carefully thought out, which is slightly contradictory to the chaos and unpredictable strangeness of dreams.

This movement, however, did want to capture the essence of dreams in all its jumbled, surreal state, leaving it open to psychological interpretation. At a time when therapy and psychoanalysis were becoming increasingly mainstream, Surrealist art certainly captured that moment in time.

In fact, Freudian analysis was so popular, Salvador Dali worked with Alfred Hitchcock on his film, Spellbound, to create the iconic dream sequence with Gregory Peck.

There were artists, though, that did want to capture the immediacy and unpredictability of the subconscious mind, such as Jean Arp, who’s automatic drawings, or automatism, were spontaneous works of art where the hand was allowed to move randomly and freely across the paper or canvas.

 

 

Weird and wonderful

There is also another strain of Surrealism that questions accepted norms and standards. Dali questioned why a telephone meant telephone, and why he wasn’t handed a Lobster instead. Basically, he was questioning language and human understanding.

This element of challenging human understanding has become a very popular strain of Surrealism. It can make for humorous and entertaining art. This is probably the most popular form, as it can be nonsensical and easier to ‘read’ than a more complex Surrealist painting that is loaded with symbolism.

Leading artists

As it is a popular style, there are still many artists producing Surreal works of art. Spencer Derry is an artist whose work combines Surrealism and automatic drawings to produce complex and detailed results. 

Neil Helmsley is a digital artist who uses this new medium to create dreamlike, haunting images. Digital art enables artists to create more imaginative and experimental works, and something Salvador Dali would have probably used if he were alive now.

Janette Boskett creates landscapes and still lifes with a surreal twist. Painted in a style similar to Rene Magritte, she takes the everyday and plays on the use of language to create lighthearted paintings that amuse and entertain.   

The term Surrealism covers such a broad range of art that there are paintings to suit every taste, style and budget. It can range from being lighthearted to very serious and conceptual, which means it can be hung anywhere in a home.

Like Dali, Surrealism does like to show off, so make sure that, wherever you decide to hang it, it’s always front and centre to grab people’s attention. As one of the most famous art movements, some people may feel that Surrealism is a little dated and unfashionable; looking at what’s being created by artists in the present day, we’d say this was far from true.

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Art History | Buying Art

How to Hang: Landscapes

by Lisa Doherty 31. July 2018 09:48

Landscape art is a style that gets very mixed reactions. There is a perception that it is old-fashioned, a little bit predictable and only shows scenes of rolling hills and lush, green fields intended to conjure up a chocolate-box vision of an imagined Britain from the past. 

Well, this isn’t always the case. Landscape art is developing in many interesting ways and there is so much more to this style than meets the eye.

Let's take a look at the latest traditional and contemporary landscapes to show you that there’s something for everyone, and that all is not what it seems.

What is a landscape?

Before photography came into existence, landscape painting was the best way of showing our appreciation of the beautiful British countryside. 

Once the camera became a mass consumer product, landscape art responded to the challenge and took to looking at nature in a completely different way. There was less of a need to capture a realistic view in a painting because a photograph did all that anyway.

To add to this, industrialisation dramatically altered the UK’s green and pleasant vistas to create more urban landscapes. Artists started painting politically charged scenes that challenged this change to the natural order. From Constable’s famous painting, The Hay Wain, to Turner’s highly charged, abstract scenes of the sea - these weren’t simply romanticised views of Merrie England but, in part, statements on rural change, mechanisation and the permanent loss of landscape. 

Essence Of A Storm Impressionist Seascape 27.5
Essence Of A Storm Impressionist Seascape 27.5" x 23.5" On Canvas by Maxine Martin

Today, landscapes tend to explore the issue of how we live, as well as the impact the human race is having on the land and the environment. They also tend to be more complex and symbolic than straightforward reproductions or nature, intendted to make you challenge and question what you are looking at.

Modern landscapes

Since the advent of impressionism, artists have felt completely free to interpret their subjects any way they like, and this has been great for landscape art, making it a hotbed of creativity. 

Light is one way that has sparked this change. If you travel to different parts of the UK or the world, artists are painting landscapes that are made up of sequences of colours, which are based on the differences in light and shade in that particular area.

Some areas will have a softer light, others starker, harsh light, which is represented through differences in shade or tone. As there is no such thing as a pure colour, artists will use a range of colours to create their interpretation of a landscape.

The artist will give you their vision in a painting, whereas, a photograph will give you the reality (the camera never lies?) As it rose to dominance alongside industrialisation, it seems only natural that photographers tend to capture more urban scenes of towns growing or in decay.

This style of photography is also filled with symbolism around what is seen and what is meant by the image. A run-down building may not be the most attractive view, but when you look at what it stands for and ‘read’ it in more detail, it suddenly becomes something very different.

Not only that, but photography also captures stunning landscapes. Instead of being purely documentary images, these views can take on different meaning and form when taken from the viewpoint of the photographer. Also, unlike paintings, a camera can capture true scale and representation of a landscape with amazing results.

Seascapes and cityscapes

Landscapes aren’t always views of hills or derelict buildings, they can also be scenes of beaches, seas, towns or cities.

Seascapes are very popular subjects for artists as the weather offers constantly changing views and perspectives, so it’s impossible to get bored.

You could have a whole gallery wall of the same beach, but every painting will be different! This is no less the case with cityscapes, as, again, these scenes are all down to interpretation. One artist may see a street or area one way, whereas another may take a completely different perspective.

Getting traditional

If you’re a bit more of a traditionalist and prefer a more pastoral view, there are many artists creating stunning landscapes. Emma Cownie paints landscapes and urban scenes, but with a classic twist that are bursting with light and shade.

Graeme Robb is another artist who also paints more traditional views. It was while he was on a charity bike ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats that he fell in love with landscape painting. Some of his scenes are dominated by clouds and are very ‘nostalgic’ views of the British countryside.

Cloudscapes are also another form of art that comes under the landscape banner. Constantly changing and very dramatic, they are ripe subjects for stunning scenes and great to hang in a room where you need to be calm and creative, such as an office or study.

So, who said landscapes were dull? There is a lot more to this style than meets the eye and it’s well worth checking out. With so many different types of landscape there is a painting for every room in the house, don’t you think it’s time to check out this very modern art?

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Art History | Buying Art

How to Hang Pop Art

by Lisa Doherty 8. July 2018 23:00

Who doesn’t love pop art?! It’s fun, it’s loud, it’s colourful and gets noticed. It’s from an art movement that’s over 50 years old, but still looks great and very contemporary, even today.

By turning the ‘trashy’ or mass-consumer into art, the Pop Art movement has been incredibly influential and has inspired many artists, such as Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and The Guerrilla Girls who continue to turn everyday objects into art.

If you’re thinking of investing in Pop Art for your home, then you’re going to have a lot of fun selecting a painting. We give you our tips on buying Pop Art and the best rooms to hang this style.

What is Pop Art?

Believe it or not, there are different types of pop art. When asked about this movement, we instinctively think of Roy Lichtenstein’s comic strips, and of course, the Pop Art master himself, Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol by sharon coles
Andy Warhol by sharon coles

However, in the 1950’s when the movement first started, there was British and American pop art. The Brits took a more collage-based or illustrative approach - with artists like Patrick Caulfield and Richard Hamilton leading the field - and they commented on all things American culture.

Richard Hamilton defined Pop Art as: Popular (designed for a mass audience), Transient (short-term solution), Expendable (easily forgotten), Low cost, Mass produced, Young (aimed at youth), Witty, Sexy, Gimmicky, Glamorous, Big business

The Best of British by Angela O'Donnell
The Best of British by Angela O'Donnell Room 22 by Tim Gilpin
Room 22 by Tim Gilpin

At the same time in the US, there was Lichtenstein and Warhol also commenting on popular American Culture. As we know, the 1950’s was the start of mass consumerism and technological advancement in the states. McDonalds drive thru’s, popular cinema, household gadgets and convenience food. Not forgetting, space travel and an obsession with life on other planets.

Bratatat Triptych - Very Large (9 ft wide by 4 ft high) by Peter Mason
Bratatat Triptych - Very Large (9 ft wide by 4 ft high) by Peter Mason

What to look for when buying pop art

This is the fun part! As Richard Hamilton says, mainstream, glamorous, sexy and expendable is what you need to be looking for when identifying and buying Pop Art.

One Artist who really embodies the Pop Art sentiment is Juan Sly. His work represents all things pop and his series of paintings entitled: ‘Other People’s Paintings, only Much Cheaper’, highlights the disposable element of this movement.

Other People's Paintings Only Much Cheaper: No. 4 Warhol (On Paper) by Juan Sly
Other People's Paintings Only Much Cheaper: No. 4 Warhol (On Paper) by Juan Sly

In true Pop Art style, Sly also takes iconic images and subverts them to make a statement. His treatment of Donald Trump from Obama’s ‘Hope’ image is a great example, where he’s been placed in a heroic context for purely ironic purposes.

Other People's Paintings only Much Cheaper: No. 10 Fairey (Trump) (on The Daily Telegraph) by Juan Sly
Other People's Paintings only Much Cheaper: No. 10 Fairey (Trump) (on The Daily Telegraph) by Juan Sly

Other artists painting in the Pop art style, include Peter Masonand Joe Henry. Mason uses postage stamps to create his abstract and popularist images, whereas Henry takes iconic figures of the 20th Century and creates ‘pop’ collages.

The best interior styles to have pop art

Pop art is a very strong and colourful style, so this needs to be hung in a more contemporary looking interior. It would probably jar in an art deco or antique space. It’s also best to hang against white or neutral-coloured walls to make it really, well, pop.

Pop art works well with the cleanest and most cutting-edge interiors, and it can also work with a modernist, retro or vintage space. After all, it is a ‘vintage’ art movement. As it’s art that really shouts at you, it’s also worth carefully considering the room or space you want to hang it.

Where to hang pop art

Now, there are no hard and fast rules to hanging art in the home, but you’ve made an investment and you want it to stand out, so it is worth giving it some serious thought.

Going back to Richard Hamilton, pop art is trashy and noisy, so this style of painting needs to be hung on its own and probably not part of a gallery wall, otherwise it will look too busy and confusing. Ideally, it needs to stand out on its own.

KATE MOSS - WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME by JOE HENRY
KATE MOSS - WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME by JOE HENRY

This movement is also irreverent, but this is the fun part of pop art. Hang it in a central location, such as over a fireplace, or in a central location in a hallway where it makes people stop to look at it. Pop art isn’t shy, so make it stand out!

We have a great selection of pop art, as well as artists using the medium of art to make a statement on politics and consumerism. Not everybody wants to hang a traditional portrait or landscape in their home, which is why we also showcase the latest and most innovative artists who are bucking conventions and making a noise. Just like true pop artists!

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Art History | Artists | Buying Art | The Art World

Art for Interiors: Minimalism

by Anthony Annarino 13. June 2018 15:22

Minimalism. For people who feel less is more.

In a hectic world, minimalist art is a great way to escape and have a tranquil moment. It’s also an enduring interior design trend that never seems to go out of style.

We look at the best art for minimal interiors to help you create a serene oasis within the chaos of family, friends, career or general life commitments.

Minimalism in art

Minimalist art is different to minimalist interiors, but they both converge to complement each other and have the same overall effect; a calm and centred environment.

A minimalist interior is, more often than not, made up of white walls and simply furnished with Nordic-style wood, black, metallic or off-white furniture. It is a very clean style with no additional or decorative objects - or some might say ‘clutter’ - as you would with a Vintage or Art Deco interior, for example.

In contrast, Minimalist art is colourful and bright. It’s usually an abstract composition, but (and here’s where we touch on a bit of art theory) it doesn’t refer to anything but itself. The pattern on the canvas is meant to suggest nothing more than - a pattern on a canvas. There’s no reference to society or politics, which means you can enjoy and lose yourself in a painting for what it is; essentially, it’s an immersive experience.

Timeless by Paresh Nrshinga
Timeless by Paresh Nrshinga

Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman were the key artists of this movement. They believed in colour theory and its impact on emotion, as they felt that colour and art combined should be a more mindful experience. Which is why this is such a great style for interiors as it’s calming and relaxing.

Multicolour abstract by Monika Howarth
Multicolour abstract by Monika Howarth

Today we are very influenced by the impact colour has on mood, especially when it comes to home decorating, and it’s these artists who helped shape this way of thinking.

What to look for when buying Minimalist art

Less is very much more when it comes to choosing a minimalist painting. They’re usually abstract works of art and are always clean and simple pieces. The barest, well, minimum needs to be in the painting, so they are very uncluttered.

Since a minimalist interior is quite white and sparse, it’s often best to go art which includes bold colours, to break things up a bit. Barnett Newman’s paintings were usually just one tone or shade over a whole canvas but were always calming shades of reds, blues and greens.

Abstract oil painting
Abstract oil painting "Space Y". Size 39.37/27.5(100/70cm). Unique impasto texture. by Karina Antonczak Yellow abstract painting  by Monika Howarth
Yellow abstract painting by Monika Howarth

The best interior styles for minimalism

Although we’ve only focused on minimalist interiors, there are other styles where this art also works, such as mid-century modern and Industrial, which is defined mainly by exposed brick, cool-coloured walls, black piping, neutral browns and woods, especially when it comes to furniture.

Feng Shui Water Element 1 by Rodney Holt
Feng Shui Water Element 1 by Rodney Holt Malmö by Jonathan Talks
Malmö by Jonathan Talks

The Scandinavian style also uses muted colours but with more of a focus on greys and greens for furnishings and accessories. There’s also the Bohemian style, which uses more natural wicker and hessian materials, patterned and textured furnishings.

As these styles do tend to use a colour palette that is on the cooler end of the spectrum, the colours in Minimalist art will bring a space to life and add warmth and depth to a room.

Dynamic I Ltd Edition Large Canvas by Pauline Thomas
Dynamic I Ltd Edition Large Canvas by Pauline Thomas

Where to hang Minimalist art

Due to the mindful nature of this style of art, it needs to be hung in a place where you can sit down, relax, unwind and look at the painting in order to take a moment.

With this in mind, calmer spaces such as bedrooms, studies, offices and even bathrooms are ideal. Even though a minimalist painting doesn’t relate to anything it’s not something you can simply engage with quickly, so it needs to be in a place where you can take time and enjoy the process of looking.

Mark Rothko believed his paintings worked best in a Church environment, so that gives you an idea of how calming this art is supposed to be.

Calming Thoughts by Stefan Fierros
Calming Thoughts by Stefan Fierros

Art reduces stress, and, as we’re living increasingly busy, smartphone-based lives it’s even more important to take a time-out from it all. It’s almost as if the original minimalist artists predicted the future!

There is now also an overall trend towards minimalism, whereby people are focusing on reducing life ‘clutter’ in order to sharpen their minds and create time for the things that really matter in their lives, such as friends, family or hobbies.

The mindful, or meditative, nature of a minimalist painting aims to start you on that journey for a more balanced life, which is a great way to think about original art.

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Art History | Buying Art | The Art World

Art for Interiors: Mid-Century Paintings

by Lisa Doherty 20. March 2018 09:45

People are passionate about the Mid-Century look. It’s iconic, stylish and not at all out of place in a 21st Century interior. For most people, once bitten by the Mid-Century bug, there’s no going back.

As with all great interior trends, art complements décor and furnishings to help finalise and set-off a specific look that is trying to be achieved. This certainly isn’t any different with the Mid-Century style.

Unfortunately, Mid-Century does have a bit of a reputation for having quite unattractive or ‘tacky’ art, but this really isn’t the case. Before you think brown and orange abstract paintings, or the Green Lady, think again. There’s a lot to this look than meets the eye.

What is Mid-Century style?

The Mid-Century period starts around 1933 and comes to an end in 1965, and spans a significant period in world history, which includes the end of the second World War, the start of the Cold War and an obsession with space exploration and the future.

Naturally, this climate impacted and influenced artists and we start to see an increase in Abstract Art and Abstract Expressionism from painters such as Jackson Pollock, Piet Mondrian and Marc Rothko. We also see the birth of the Pop art movement during this time, so there are a lot of styles to choose from!

Hedgehog Spray by LEO BROOKS
Hedgehog Spray by LEO BROOKS Other People's Paintings Only Much Cheaper: No.3 Mondrian. by Juan Sly
Other People's Paintings Only Much Cheaper: No.3 Mondrian. by Juan Sly

This was also an iconic period for furniture designers and architects who responded to the political climate with futuristic and experimental furniture that still hold-up as examples of great design to this day. The Eames chair is probably the most famous, as well as the Tulip chair by Eero Saarinen.

From a high street perspective, this period also saw furniture combine function and design to create a more stylised home. These manufacturers included G-Plan, Parker Knoll and Beautility. Again, today, their furniture has now become highly desired and sought-after.

How to choose a Mid-Century painting

Abstract art and portraiture are key artistic styles for the Mid-Century look. The key colours and tones are muted orange, brown and blue, which may sound a little drab, but they have been brought up to date by today’s Abstract Artists to be more vibrant and vivid.

Geometric shapes were also popular in art during this time, so it’s worth considering this when looking for a painting that best matches the Mid-Century look. This was also a time of texture in art as well with the use of thick, visible brush strokes and also decorative, or three-dimensional wall art.

Mid Century Madness by Lisa Vallo
Mid Century Madness by Lisa Vallo

Through Abstract Expressionism, Jackson Pollock and Marc Rothko tried to capture noise, emotion and even music on canvas. Capturing these in a painting has been a long-held pursuit of artists, who have tried to convey this in so many different ways. Pollock and Rothko did this by dripping paint, soft tones or ombre, and the use of colour.

Sound Waves 04 - Limited Edition Lithograph by M K Anisko
Sound Waves 04 - Limited Edition Lithograph by M K Anisko

There was also a futuristic element to this period, as there was an obsession with robots, aliens and space exploration, all underpinned by the fears of the Cold War. This was also known as the Atomic style, which uses a lot of lines, dots and circles, again, in an Abstract style.

RETRO ROBOT Returns by Tony Lilley
RETRO ROBOT Returns by Tony Lilley Corona  by Robin Gray
Corona by Robin Gray

Mid-Century Portraits

This period saw the home evolve into a place of comfort and style, and not just a functional space. As a result, art became more mainstream and could be bought on the high street - remember Woolworths? - which became very popular and led to some paintings, such as The Green Lady or Mysterious Girl, become iconic statement pieces for this time.

To bring this look up to date, there are portraits you can buy with a Mid-Century twist that reference famous portraits from this period. They do this through the use of tone and colour scheme, as well as a softness with the brush.

These portraits also took on a more global perspective as they portrayed women from other countries and cultures in a more relaxed pose - as opposed to the more formal, European paintings - which was considered ground-breaking, and very popular, at the time.

HER GAZE / 60 CM X 42 CM PORTRAIT PAINTING ON PAPER by Anna Sidi-Yacoub
HER GAZE / 60 CM X 42 CM PORTRAIT PAINTING ON PAPER by Anna Sidi-Yacoub

60's Woman 1 by Victor White
60's Woman 1 by Victor White

The best rooms for Mid-Century

There are a lot of muted tones in the Mid-Century look, so choose a room that is bright and airy and can carry-off the look. Otherwise, a room that has quite poor light is at risk of looking very brown and quite drab.

Furniture-wise, this style uses a lot of wood and leather, so again, it needs a bright space to have impact. A bright conservatory, dining area, living room, study or home office is great for this style. Use sparingly in kitchens or you’re at risk of being overwhelmed by wood. A great alternative, especially for dining furniture, is to go with a round, white table and Tulip chairs, with bright cushions to break things up a bit.

A Mid-Century interior is a lot of fun to design. It’s helped that there is also a lot of art out there - especially on our site - to help you complete the style, create maximum impact and transform your space. Have fun!

Tags:

Art History | Buying Art

Art for Interiors: Art Deco Paintings

by Lisa Doherty 6. March 2018 16:56

The Art Deco look has become a timeless classic. Interior trends have arrived, gone, come back and gone again, but Art Deco has remained constant.

The main reason for this is because it is a style that remains modern in its look and feel and doesn’t seem to date. Not only that, but it’s constantly evolving to work with contemporary interiors.

If you’re in the process of recreating this style in your home, we take a look at how Art Deco  painting and photography can help you complete the look.

The Art Deco style

Originating in the 1920’s and 30’s, Art Deco is made up of strong geometric lines and shapes, such as triangles and circles, and also uses bold colours. It was heavily influenced by the latest technology of the day and drew from artistic and creative styles from the Orient and Persia.

The style grew out of a need from Designers, Architects and Artists to create a more ‘modern’ look. This new look was immediately popular and became a key style for almost anything, such as buildings, fashion, furniture, and, of course, art.

For Art Deco artists, the Cubist and Fauvist art movements were the main influences, and you can see this clearly in paintings through the use of strong, ‘block-like’ figures and shapes, and bright colours, such as yellow and red. The key artists of this movement consisted of Tamara De Lempicka and Sonia Delauney.

MANSCAPE 3 by John Varden
MANSCAPE 3 by John Varden

A coffee with Tamara de Lempicka by Jean-pierre Walter
A coffee with Tamara de Lempicka by Jean-pierre Walter

How to choose an Art Deco painting?

An Art Deco painting is very distinctive and easy to recognise. They also tend to stick mainly to three themes, which are figurative studies, abstract shapes or landscapes.

If you’re looking for a figurative image, then the Art Deco movement focused mainly on nude studies or portraits. If you’re especially influenced by the work of Tamara De Lempicka, then look for portraits with accentuated curves, or with a ‘solid’ or ‘heavy figured’ feel to it.

The Art deco period was also a time of innovation in travel and transport, as cruise liners, high speed trains and air travel became more affordable and increased in popularity.

As a result, posters became even more popular during this period and were treated as works of art in their own right, so think iconic London Underground posters or adverts for trains, Cars, or Cruise ships. Who doesn’t love this style?!

Two Figures, Aqueduct by Miles Bodimeade
Two Figures, Aqueduct by Miles Bodimeade

Cat and I. by Carron  Howe
Cat and I. by Carron Howe

In the morning by Florentina(anca)  popescu
In the morning by Florentina(anca) popescu

BSA motorcycle poster by Michael Gadd
BSA motorcycle poster by Michael Gadd

Modern art deco

If you want to create a more modern Art Deco look, then it’s worth looking at abstract art or photography to bring the look up to date.

Modern Art Deco colours are still very much based around monochrome, but they are now mixed with elements of pastel Pink, Gold or Green.

This is the beauty of this style and one of the reasons why it has stood the test of time, as it can be adapted, brought up to date so easily and work with a modern or traditional look.

The City at Night by Neil Hemsley
The City at Night by Neil Hemsley Beginnings by belinda jackson
Beginnings by belinda jackson DUVER VIEW by Suzanne Whitmarsh
DUVER VIEW by Suzanne Whitmarsh

The best rooms for Art Deco

As we all know, the 1920’s are synonymous with partying, so this look does tend to work better in the more social spaces around the home, such as lounges, dining rooms or even the home-office. This style also works in bedrooms and bathrooms, so you can wow house guests when they come to stay.

Overall, Art Deco is quite an indulgent and decadent style, so it works well in a room where you can really show-off. As a result, you can either go all out for patterned wallpaper or go for a sleek monochromatic look, which is broken-up with pops of colour from fabrics or paintings.

The Art Deco style also calls for a lot of geometry, not just through shapes, but also in the use of furniture and accessories such as lamps and chairs, which are always used in pairs to balance out a room.

This geometry is also worth considering when choosing art. A painting that works as a pair – also known as a diptych - can be placed either side by side or further apart on a wall, which could provide balance over a fireplace or desk in a home office.

So, whether you’re in a new build, or even a Victorian home, there is a lot of scope and range to work with. And, even if you’re a modern or traditional Art Deco-ist, this is a style you can have a lot of fun with.

Art is a great way to help you express your look, but don’t think it is something that is the left to the pursuit of the super-rich; there are paintings available to suit all budgets, tastes, and of course, styles…so what are you waiting for, it’s time to get creative!

The Three Hills (Diptych) by David Moore
The Three Hills (Diptych) by David Moore Waterloo by Rebecca Coleman
Waterloo by Rebecca Coleman Surrey Landscape 7 by Jan Rippingham
Surrey Landscape 7 by Jan Rippingham

Tags:

Art History | Buying Art | The Art World


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