If you are like me, you love art. And if you are like me, you have a plethora of framed pieces and not enough wall space to display them all! But I have a solution which looks to the past for inspiration. American ex-pat author Gertrude Stein ran one of history's most famous--and talented--salons from her Paris apartment. She (along with her brother Leo) was an avid art collector, but was also a patron of a huge collection of famous artists, and was often gifted with works by said artists. So her walls became an ad hoc museum, with works by Matisse, Gauguin, Renoir, and Picasso grouped, squeezed and crowded together. Here is a photo of Stein's actual apartment at 27 rue de Fleurus, on the Left Bank.
I love how pieces which are hung salon-style speak to a kind of casual, bohemian, yet cultivated dedication to art. It is marvelously eclectic and affords an opportunity to introduce color, texture, and pattern into a room without making a permanent statement with something like a bold sofa or busy rug: the excitement comes from the walls. And the best part is, it can be changed and rotated as often as you wish!
The look can be cool and elegant such as this cohesive grouping below, all in similar tones and shades of neutral hues. The mismatched frames though, bring a bit of variety and a lovely, engaging tension.
But more often, a grouping exhibits the kind of serendipity and exuberance of an art connoisseur. (Photo by Marili Forastieri.)
I love the collection of 1940s and 50s oil portraits on the far wall in the living room of one of the guest houses at Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi's former home. (Photo by Roger Davies.)
Then of course there is the effortless, casual sense of an embarrassment of riches...
When approached with a classical eye, it works in a bedroom suite as well.
If you are worried that too much on a wall will look heavy, look at this arrangement by Tamara Kaye Honey...it feels light and breezy.
And if you have a huge wall or large open space and don't know what to do with it, salon-style art can serve to cover a lot of acreage, and draw the eye upward, accenting wonderfully tall ceilings, as seen here in Kate and Andy Spade's Southampton Artist Colony by interior designer Steven Sclaroff. (Photo by Marili Forastieri.)
And finally, a salon-style collection does not have to be classic or traditional. Look at this playful, graphic Modernist collection, all in matching white frames, in this stark white bathroom!
If you have a large art collection, or if you are planning on collecting, consider hanging your pieces salon-style!