Blank walls are no match for Gaétan Caron and Rob Delamater, the founders of San Francisco’s Lost Art Salon. “We focus on rediscovered artists of the modern era (20th century), bringing their legacies and artwork back to the public,” says Delamater. (He and Caron are artists themselves.)
Since its founding in 2004, the enterprise has been a go-to art source for those in the interior design industry, including Ken Fulk, Kelly Wearstler and Nate Berkus. Restaurants, shops and hotels have called upon Lost Art Salon to curate collections. It is also open to the public, who can not only browse its 3,500 square feet of gallery space, featuring more than 100 artists, but also enlist the staff for framing and display help.
Creating artful presentations is practically second nature to them. Here, Delamater shares some general guidelines for those considering hanging a group of works in their home.
First things first: People always ask, “How am I going to know what goes together?” I always say, “If you collected it, although they may seem different to you objectively, there’s a strong chance they have synergy aesthetically.” So don’t worry too much. Once you start laying those pieces down on the ground and seeing if they work together, that innate harmony that comes from you having bought them, by your own taste, will begin to shine.
Pieces of the display puzzle: When it comes to any kind of arrangement on the walls, I believe there’s a loose recipe—not an exact formula. You do need the ingredients in order to be able to cook this dish, but you don’t need to have it down to the millimeter. You need to have pieces of different sizes. Ideally, you’ve got small, medium and large. You need to have both orientations, vertical and horizontal. And, depending on what your objective is, you want to have various mediums—paintings, drawings, works on paper and canvas—which can create a more complex dish. And I think for a really great gallery wall, you want a diversity of subject matter and a diversity of frames.
Location, location, location: Whatever you do, it is going to mean that this will become a feature wall. Whether it’s a tall narrow space in your home, or the more traditional space above your sofa or fireplace, it needs to be the space you want to feature. Ask yourself, “What part of this house do I want to turn into a very compelling vignette?” Because that’s what it’s going to do. When people walk into the room, their eye is going to be drawn there. You are going to draw attention to it.
Think outside the frame: Anything that hangs on a wall and acts as a decorative object—whether it’s fine art or not—can be in dialogue with framed artwork. For example, mirrors, clocks and sculptural elements like a plate or a tile. … Things that you maybe didn’t even think about putting on the wall could be good conversation pieces. Hanging them from a ribbon is sometimes nice to break up the look.
Hang time: If I’m doing a gallery wall, I like to start off with: What is going to be the central group? Which can be three to five pieces that will be the center. I will arrange those on the floor until my eye says it looks right. Then I’ll re-create that on the wall. It’s easiest to start with just a few. That becomes the root and then I decorate around it. You do not have to plan all 13 pieces out in advance. You can create the heart of the arrangement first, get it on the wall, then have fun and freestyle from there.