Don’t be afraid to go large, says our art ex­pert

Art is cre­ated to be seen, ar­gues An­thony Smith, so don’t be afraid to go large

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It’s al­ways in­ter­est­ing to see the sin­gle item that makes a dif­fer­ence when view­ing in­te­rior pho­to­graphs of say a celebrity’s home or per­haps a home dec­o­rated by a pro­fes­sional in­te­rior de­signer and the one that ap­pears in say the av­er­age ‘home for sale’ in­te­rior shot.

It’s al­ways art­work and 99 times out of 100, it’s the size of that art­work.

Large, com­mand­ing and strik­ing art­works al­ways change the dy­namic of any room in which they hang whereas small paint­ings, if not grouped to­gether, ap­pear to be lonely and frankly sad. Lost.

Such small, sin­gle works make a room feel empty and with­out warmth or a heart... in fact they am­plify the feel­ing of empti­ness.

I re­cently skimmed through a lead­ing in­te­rior de­sign jour­nal from the US. Tro­phy art was in abun­dance.

Big ex­pen­sive art by big names filled the walls, some to the point of be­ing ex­ces­sive. Yet the own­ers seemed proud of their col­lec­tions, whether they had de­vel­oped these col­lec­tions them­selves or had some­one do it for them (a topic for another day).

On one dou­ble page spread there was a small paint­ing – my guess would be eight inches square – above a large king-sized bed. It was quite odd to see and the first thing that came to mind was ‘why would you do that?’

The work was too small to be seen unless you ac­tu­ally stood on the bed, so it was there sim­ply for ef­fect, but cer­tainly not im­pact. But its po­si­tion­ing negated the artis­tic value of the work to merely one of an ob­ject placed to achieve an ef­fect. This was sad.

Art­works are cre­ated to be seen and ide­ally to touch the viewer emo­tion­ally in some way.

Many peo­ple seem a bit re­luc­tant to hang a large work and I al­ways won­der why? Per­haps there’s a feel­ing that a large work will dom­i­nate the

room, but surely a fine paint­ing will en­hance a room, as well as the wall its placed on?

It’s cer­tainly how I feel. There also may be a feel­ing that if the paint­ing is large and re­ally doesn’t work in the room that it would be a con­tin­ual re­minder of a bad pur­chase, but most gal­leries would of­fer you a re­place­ment or re­fund if the art you just pur­chased didn’t work in the space it was in­tended for.

I need to have art­work sur­round­ing me in my daily life and home. I am slowly ren­o­vat­ing my of­fice (very slowly) but I vi­su­alised a par­tic­u­lar work from our col­lec­tion on the wall be­fore I started, so much so that I had to hang it be­fore the room is even painted!

As you could imag­ine from this month’s theme, it is a large work and fills the wall but works bril­liantly in the room. (See the image above – oh, and please don’t be con­cerned about it be­ing over a ra­di­a­tor!)

Next time you’re look­ing through a mag­a­zine, please take time to no­tice the art­works in the fea­tured rooms. Most of­ten a large work is sim­ply perfect and en­hances, rather than dom­i­nates a room.

ABOVE: Mor­ri­son by Dou­glas Ste­wart. This 48in x 72in oil on can­vas is a pow­er­ful piece which works in the space it has been given in An­thony’s of­fice

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