Friday, December 23, 2011

Decorating with paintings

I love art, but particularly portrait paintings. I connect with the character in the face, whether it's a mysterious smile, a self confident stare, or an enigmatic look trying to tell me something about him or herself. We have always bought our paintings at auction.

Art et Decoration (France)

In this room portraits are grouped on the wall behind a bright red IKEA sofa. The article in Art et Decoration called the combination 'audacious'! I like the contrast of the color and the more muted portraits, and the juxtaposition of the old and new.

Canadian House and Home

In this entryway, two type of portraits provide contrast - an oil painting of a gentleman, and the line drawing of the woman. Both make you stop and look to try to understand who they were and what we can tell about their personalities.

This English 18th century portrait actually has a female companion (not shown). I think he has a lot of character. I love the period clothing and the confident gaze. This sold at a Christie's auction in New York for $625 for the pair off an auction estimate of $1,000 - $1,500. They measure 12 inches x 10 inches.

This Spanish portrait is wonderful Her strong eye brows are great. Her dress and locket are lovely. This sold at Christie's  for $188 off an auction estimate of $600 - $800. It's 19th century and signed 'Lopez Egea y Marin'. It measures 24.5 inches x 19 inches.

Copake Auction  in Copake, NY traditionally has a New Year's Day auction. We went last year, and it was a great way to spend the day. This portrait is included in the one coming up. This is Lot 112. It's 19th century, measures 21 inches x 16 inches, and has an auction estimate of $400 - $600. I love his almost smile, and his strong gaze out of the painting. The bit of red in his clothing makes it that much more interesting.

I was taken by this 20th century Latin American portrait that sold at a New Orleans auction. The strong yellow of his shirt makes this pop. His look is almost quizzical. This measures 23 inches x 20 inches, and sold for $430 off an auction estimate of $400 - $700.

We have had very good luck buying paintings at auction. We feel that we've gotten some very interesting pieces at good prices. One does need to check condition carefully (check my Buying Paintings at Auction).

It's fun to mix periods and styles when collecting. You can make an investment or buy bargains with lots of interest. I can't keep my eyes off portraits! Have fun with it.

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