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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Ovunque e da nessuna parte
Gender: femme
Posts: 1
Wall colors for home art galleries
For the art collector, what do you think is the best wall color upon which to display paintings? Is there a difference depending on the genre of the piece? What if the piece and the architecture are very different (for example, abstract expressionism in a Colonial-style home). Do the same "rules" apply to rooms with sculpture?

Are pure shades of white, so commonly found in museums, really the way to go? Based on your experiences, what colors (please specify paint brands, color names, and sheen) have provided the best backdrop for your art? If you post photos, please indicate the style of your living space (and credit the artist!).

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gius's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Gender: homme
Posts: 10,894
Hello alina Welcome to tFS.
The basic idea is that whatever background you choose, it brings out the beauty of the piece you are displaying. You are playing with contrasts.

Say you have a stark black and white photograph to display. If you imagine using a white wall, since there is white in the photograph already, it doesn't cause a "contrast" or difference between the wall and the picture. The photograph will just merge with the wall.
So then you decide to use a light beige. Since there is no beige in the photograph, the black and white of the photograph will show up more. Beige is also nice because it's not too high a contrast, and that way it doesn't steal attention away from the photograph.

Generally neutral colours are used as backdrops (white, black, grey and the different forms of beige or brown and tones thereof) because they don't affect the artwork or affect it the least.
By comparison when you use actual colour, such as a blue and place it next to a red, depending on the type of blue, the red will transform.. Your eyes will make it seem the red is maybe warmer or more orange. It's like when you go out in to the sunlight and then run indoors, there will be this green tinge over your eyesight, affecting everything you see...
If your artwork is red, you won't see it in its "original" colour because the wall is affecting it. But this is just theory... You can play around with it.

So with this in mind, it's only after I have the art work that then I decide what colour to use for the background. You don't necessarily have to change the whole wall. I've exhibited some of my works, and we hardly ever paint the walls a new colour. Instead we just frame or mat the pieces... and the mats come in different neutral colours. I don't think any sheen would help, it would take attention away...


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gius's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Gender: homme
Posts: 10,894
Usually what I do is bring a photo of the work with me, the colours as close to the original as I can get. At the store, placing them on the mats to see if they go together, or achieve the result I want. You could do that with paint chips too, they seem to be making them larger and larger where I live.

Some ideas.

In this second one, imagine if they had used a backdrop as dark as the one above, wouldn't it give a completely different message. Even the choice of lighting has an effect.

Here is a shop for Marni. Colour is used instead to draw the eye towards the likewise colourful clothing (or work of art), as is the use of the fluid metal sculptures. Architect is Sybarite.

artdiv-hpf.com | thisnext.com

I think you would have some fun looking at these threads:
Shop designs & displays.
Interior decor thread


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