Buy What You Love!!

I recently took a painting to a client’s house. He loved it and had decided to buy it but wanted to make sure his daughter liked it. I left it with him for three days so he would have a chance to get her opinion (she loved it). After the third day he left me a message saying he had decided not to buy the painting after all. He had invited a bunch of guys over for poker night and they had all argued about whether or not the work was well suited to his living room.  Most liked it, but one friend felt strongly that the space needed something less abstract with a softer colour palette to go with the sofa. The friend was so persuasive that he left my client doubting his own opinion, and in the end he couldn’t bring himself to buy art that one of his friends didn’t approve of. My client took his friend’s advice and hired a decorator, and he is now the bored owner of a dull landscape that matches his wall so tastefully that it’s nearly invisible. The poor guy had found something that stirred his senses, and he let his passion be stamped out by someone else’s colour preferences.

There is so much advice out there about how to buy art, but I always tell my clients that what it boils down to is pure and simple: just buy what you love.  You don’t need a decorator or art dealer to tell you what moves you. Life is too short to not surround yourself with things that make you happy, and those moments in life when we find something special that we connect with are so rare, we need to grab them when they arise. When you see a work of art that you love and can afford, don’t think too hard about it- just make it yours. Don’t worry about where you’ll display it- if you love it, you’ll find a place.

I found “Nipple Tassles” by glass artist Claire Anderson at an art fair.
“Tassles” in my powder room.

Last year my husband and I attended a party at the home of a couple we met, and hanging their family room was a large painting by an artist whose work I immediately recognized. As I excitedly chattered on about the artist’s last show and her impressive new works, I realized both sets of eyes had glazed over and my friends were politely not listening. One of them finally admitted that their decorator had chosen the painting without their involvement, and not only did they know nothing about the artist or the piece itself, neither of them even liked it.

Unfortunately this happens all the time.  People are busy. It can be helpful to have a decorator narrow down some choices based on your preferences: there is a wide range of art out there and it can be a daunting process to find the right piece. But to entirely make the selection without the homeowner’s input? How sad that so many people are living with art that has incredible stories that they don’t learn! How does that process even go? Hmm…going to spend thousands of dollars now on something that will dominate my primary living space. Let’s see: I could choose something I find soothing, moving, beautiful –something remarkable that makes me think – definitely something I want to keep looking at day after day. Nah. I’ll just hire a stranger to pick something they like.   After all they picked the sofa so they should choose what they want to hang above it.

People buy art for different reasons: for investment, for enjoyment, for decoration.  But art is and has always been a societal signifier of status, wealth and cultural intelligence, and too often people get caught up in what others think and forget about what’s important. In displaying art in your home, you are expressing your liberty, your passion and your individuality without saying a word.  The art you buy must resonate with you… whether its significance is aesthetic, cultural, intellectual or sentimental in nature. Never let anyone sell you art that you don’t like because of some perceived value that you don’t see. Displaying art that has no meaning to you is like lying on your resume. It’s a false description of who you are – both to the people who visit your home and to yourself.

When we connect with a work of art, we make a connection to the artist, to the world and to ourselves, and to buy art that enhances our lives and moves our spirits is to live life on a higher plane. Happy collecting.

“Ah, good taste! What a dreadful thing! Taste is the enemy of creativeness.”
(Pablo Picasso)
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