Starting a fund to buy art is a bit like saving for an ISA; it is a maturity thing that happens when you realise that no more shoes can actually fit in your wardrobe, your lifestyle has changed and you spend more time inside your house than out. You have probably stayed at some good country house hotels and come back and realised that actually you do have prettily proportioned windows, the cornice is quite stylish and with a bit of Farrow and Ball you could transition to adult living if you spent half your wardrobe and fine dining allowance on your house.
The good news is that while you are fine-tuning your taste and your savings plan, fast art and photography has never been so beautifully wrapped up in an end to end service as it is now.
I am a huge fan of the Trowbridge Gallery for both intense black and white photography, romantic sepia tone lifestyle vignettes and colour bombs of modern art. Select image, select frame, pay and boom! – wall problem covered. Trowbridge represents a thorough range of artists and photographers and holds a broad range of images that would look great in your kitchen, a sitting room, the hall or a bedroom. There are also plenty of vanilla-non-offensive-palate-cleansing options for the non-committal to put in guest rooms or rental properties.
You can fix that bare wall you’ve been ignoring for the past four years in three weeks and go from grown up flat to ‘home’ before you know it. Trowbridge Gallery has excellent service and a website that is easy to navigate and customise. Pricewise, I think it is an excellent match of quality and affordability. I have spent hours trawling through their wonderful archives and here’s my winners’ list. I love their jumbo shots, pairs and themed ‘collections’, which are very Ralph Lauren.
Please click to enlarge
If you can’t find what you are looking for, US based Photographers’ Gallery also has an excellent selection, not as great a website, however. I adore this Slim Aarons Riva shot, with a high gloss finish on aluminium. If I had a boat house in Miami or on Lake Como…….
The Affordable Art Fair in Battersea is a fantastic place to head for large statement pieces. My husband bought a Chris Busche for £1,000 six years ago. By the time we decided to try and get another piece two years later his prices had gone up to £4,000. I wouldn’t recommend buying for investment’s sake, but I would take it as an endorsement of the Affordable Art Fair organisers that several of the artists they have launched have gone on to significantly increase the value of their work.
Buying art when kids come along has its own challenges, depending on your mindset. I personally didn’t want guns, booze, cigarettes, gratuitous nudity or anything on the creepy or scary spectrum. When putting together Bolthole on Arundel I knew we were going for a navy blue theme to link the rooms together, with burnt orange accents. I turned right, rather than left at the Affordable Art Fair entrance, which I also recommend, and walked immediately past the Retrospect Galleries stand with Byron Bay artist Alberto Sanchez’s large scale glossy pieces. I immediately loved the piece we bought. It was huge with swathes of navy and orange which tied our interior look together, and much to my kids’ delight included a dinosaur and multiple pairs of trainers. Perfect for a house with three boys under four. Result. The light reflecting gloss gives a lift to the windowless foyer and the colour palate complements of all the rooms it leads on to nicely. But more than that, it is a great way to get little boys into art and reassure them that their ideas are valid, even if it is not a perfectly realist effort like a girl might be more inclined to do in their first forays into art at school.
If you are reading this from Australia, although they ship internationally, I urge you to physically go and check out The Retrospective Gallery. I am also loving Maurizio Sergio Golotta aka MSG who is a Melbourne based artist they represent. This is amazing: