Friday, January 21, 2011

Abstract Interiors - Living with Contemporary Art

(images 1-3 courtesy of

(images 3-6 courtesy of

When it comes to purchasing art, is your style "traditional," "contemporary," or the harder-to-pin-down, "transitional?" Is it possible to be traditional when it comes to furniture and interiors, and push the envelope a bit with abstract, contemporary art? We sure think so, as do many designers and avid art collectors. But often first time art buyers and clients ask for a little direction when it comes to pulling this off. We have pulled together a few perfect examples of interiors by two designers who are constantly using this approach to prompt the discussion. As you can see in the photos above, both Suzanne Kasler and Tobi Fairley can shed some light on how to accomplish this blend of styles. Abstract art can be a wonderful source of color and unexpected inspiration. It stands out against traditional, formal rooms and adds another dimension.

As with any purchase, it is most important to consider, "can I live with this piece?" What is the story behind it? One of the most exciting aspects of buying and enjoying contemporary art is the history of the piece. For example, if you buy from an emerging artist, in years to come you are able to follow their career and look back fondly on how you discovered their work for yourself. It is so refreshing to see a formal sitting room with a bold, color-block painting hanging above it all. That is not to say that contemporary art cannot be serious. In the first image, the piece lends itself to the entryway perfectly. It pulls the entire space together with its abstract composition and display of soft lines. Kasler is a master of blending these two seemingly uncomplimentary styles (eg: gilded gold side table and tufted chair with painting recalling mid-twentieth century modern masters). Ultimately, adding just one contemporary element to this entry foyer (the artwork) allows the entire room to project a more modern tone.

The next time you are looking to update your living room, I would urge you to consider placing a contemporary painting in an otherwise traditional setting. We have plenty of options (wink, wink!). As evidenced by the plethora of designers trending toward this convergence of styles; you actually CAN live with that French Louis XV commode with a fabulous Cy Twombly hanging above!

1 comment:

Lara said...

i love these rooms! one day i hope to save up enough to purchase one amazing piece of original art that calls my name. when i'm ready i'll take a trip to Georgia. :)