The Pleasure of Small Works of Art
I am keen on the purchase of small works by great and very good artists. It is a way to strengthen and add depth your art collection, even with limited space and means.
Over the years, I have attended the art sales sponsored by ACRIA, a charitable organization promoting AIDS research. Each year they ask important artists and photographers to make a limited series of smaller works that are either sold at their gallery parties or online. It is a wonderful way to buy art. Their paintings and photographs have added much to my rooms.
This subject of small paintings came to mind recently at the Institute of Classical Architecture and Classical America's Arthur Ross Awards dinner where I had the pleasure of sitting next to William Curtis of the noted Houston firm Curtis & Windham Architects.
We were discussing the John and Dominique De Menil house in Houston which is now under the care of the Museum of Fine Art, Houston. He reminded me of the bar or "liquor closet" tucked behind the principal wall of the living room. It is fitted out in the usual way with glasses and bottles and also arrayed with small paintings from artists known to the family-including Braque, Victor Brauner, Marc Chagall, Anne Ryan and Kurt Schwitters. (Edward Albee wrote a wonderful piece, Mrs. de Menil's Liquor Closet that appeared in the Fall 2001 issue of Nest, but sadly there are no links to it online.)
Bill and I agreed that these small paintings make the room extraordinary and memorable. Not that all of us will have a Picasso in our midst to supply us with miniature pictures-but the idea of good small art, especially in unexpected locations, can truly improve the quality of ones collection and decoration.