Recently my wife and I received a spur-of-the-moment invitation to supper at good friends' house. What prompted the invitation was the leftover New Year’s Day turkey! Our friend is a superb cook and we had a most enjoyable dinner with her and her husband dining on the remnants of the bird.
However what we found interesting was the fact that there were only 4 of us, not your usual dinner party with 8 or 10 or 12 people. As a result we had a chance to talk to our friends about the art in the house in some detail. Their house is fairly large and since our host is both an artist and interested in all fine art, their house, quite understandably, is filled with a large collection of art, especially paintings which are hung on the walls in every room, every hallway and even in the bathrooms.
Now when we think of an art collection what usually springs to mind is some very fine paintings and sculptures, obviously expensive and displayed similar to a museum. Not so in this house.
I asked our friend to explain to me what she had in mind when she acquired all these pieces. Her answer was quite down to earth – “I collect what I like”. Now that is probably too simplistic but that is her basic criteria. The fact that she is an artist and also has been collecting art for many decades means that she also knows good art when she sees it. And “good” art also means that you will enjoy it for a long period of time.
(Our host also admitted that she sometimes gets tired of a piece, or God forbid, made a mistakes - so she just sells or gives away the offending piece!)
I asked our homeowner to show me all the pieces on the walls and tell me a little bit about them. What a story! – 2 of the pieces she rescued from the disposal bin of a relative, some she received as pass-me-downs or gifts from relatives, some were family heirlooms, some were bought at galleries and/or art shows. A few of the pieces were from internationally recognized artists but the bulk of the pieces were from relatively unknown artists. Not only that, the selections were highly eclectic – modern art, abstract art, landscapes, cityscapes, portraits and many other types. The price range was quite wide with many of the pieces very affordable.
However, the point that I want to make is that the collection enhanced the home and gave great pleasure to anyone viewing it. To achieve this our friend displayed the pieces with a lot of thought as to what would go with other pieces. The size of the wall, the specific room or area and the type of subject were all taken into consideration. The result was a home that was so visually attractive that whatever room you were in you felt as though you were in a “perfect” place.
We ate in the dining room which has art pieces on every wall and what dawned on me was the fact that everything “fit”. The room was a joy to be in, the table setting was very creative – including the bowl of finger puppets for use by guests – and while turkey leftovers may not strike you as gourmet fare it fit perfectly combined with the visual feast on the walls.
Leftover turkey never tasted better!