Art and your Home


For some time, wider press coverage of contemporary art was generally limited to mocking articles about galleries wasting public cash on piles of old bricks (specifically, the Tate’s purchase of Carl Andre’s Equivalent VIII).

But post-Britart, an entire generation of artists became genuine celebrities and their work was easily identifiable by non-specialists; the subsequent boom in ‘street art’ pushed these trends further, with artists developing signature styles as recognisable as any brand logo, entry-level price points coming down and work suddenly easier to decode by a casual buyer.

The statistics are hard to argue with: last year’s figures from Artprice saw sales of contemporary art rise by 15%, to a record high of £1.047bn. Artprice’s president Thierry Ehrmann described the contemporary art market as ‘a mirror to our times… more accessible, less elitist than modern art.’

Art is an important addition to your new home. I recently interviewed Maria Brito, the New York based curator and art buyer, who manages the art collections of various high-worth individuals, including Puff Daddy. She realised the value art could bring to a property when selling her own apartment during the slump of 2008: ‘The broker came to the apartment, said it would sell very quickly because of the art.
She was right, we sold it within the month, while other apartments languished in the market.’ Brito describes art as ‘the only investment that will outlive your house.’

So, what should you get? Posters and prints can be kept as long as you invest in proper bespoke framing by a specialist (John Jones is still one of the most renowned in London), and it’s probably best to get rid of any relics of your student days (canvas prints of Scarface, etc). Think about how the piece will work in a whole collection and try to give it some consistency (ie, the Soho House collection is all black and white). A curation service like – named for the optimum height the centre of a picture should sit from the floor – will supply you with a dummy print of the work that you can use to work out where it sits best in your home before committing to a purchase of the original. Alternatively, you can use Google’s 3-D modeling program, Sketch-Up, as a rough way of visualising how work will look within a certain physical space.

As for the actual purchasing of art, events like The New Artist Fair, Moniker and The Other Art Fair offer you a chance to buy directly from artists and galleries themselves, while galleries like Lazarides and KK Outlet have a frequently changing sell-through exhibition program. For affordable photographic prints, The Photographers’ Gallery and Daniel Blau are both recommended. For pricier work by more established names, the Frieze Art Fair still dominates.

Justin Quirk
Editor House Mag