Picture perfect: nine ways to display your art

Best in Class: Get the hang of displaying your artwork with these ideas from homes and galleries


How you hang prints, oils and watercolours at home can turn a plain room into, well a work of art. Stoneybatter-based Frame Foundry has worked with the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Office of Public Works and a slew of artists including Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. It delights in special projects such as framing a portrait of our President Michael D Higgins by Mick O'Dea using oak salvaged from the Phoenix Park. Contemporary art framing has become very streamlined, with clients looking for thin frames in dark hard woods with a more refined finish, says its managing director Morris Deegan. "Glazing has also advanced with much more thought on the effects of light on artworks, so we use high-quality museum glass with a UV protecting filter. This trend is clean and elegant and compliments the artworks." Pictured are works by Nan Goldin at an exhibition at Imma a few years back, which have high-quality glossy prints dry-mounted onto dibond, a metal used in sign-making and feature the afore-mentioned museum glass. The works have slim black frames and with lighting set to reflect on to the print creates an effect that seems to burn out the frames and make them look like light boxes, Deegan says. One about 762cm by 114cm in size will cost upwards of €380. Framefoundry.ie


When it comes to positioning your artworks through your home, Anne Hodge, curator of prints and drawings at The National Gallery of Ireland suggests using statement pieces to punctuate the end of a corridor or hall, for example or on the opposite wall to an opening that leads from one room through to another so the opening acts as a second frame. She cautions against putting watercolours, inks or fine art prints into direct sunlight or above radiators as the heat and light may fade the works. Artworks hung on outside walls may be liable to damp. She says you will get great ideas by visiting commercial galleries and says that bulldog clips, such as those pictured in this work by Milanese-based architect Matteo Nunziati can be used to great effect for posters, as can simple dress pins, but she doesn't recommend it for fine works as either option will mark the work. matteonunziati.com; nationalgallery.ie



Rocky Wall of Wink Lighting has installed the very cool and contemporary poster system by German-firm Buschfeld in the Royal St George Yacht Club in Dún Laoghaire as well as in several private art collector's homes. It offers an aluminium picture rail system that comes with as many drops as you want for a particular space. Ditto the number of lights. These drops have a hook so you can shorten or lengthen the hooks as you see fit. One collector uses it to rotate his works regularly. "It is like Meccano," he says. "It is super flexible. You can chop and change what you want to hang. It could be a 4m wall where you want three drops and three lights or three drops and just one light." Wink.ie


For a classic brass look picture light Oxfordshire-based Davey Lighting has recently introduced a design that measures 55cm long and comes in three finishes; classic polished brass; a weathered brass that is almost black, or a polished chrome option. It has an LED light, is dimmable and costs about €601, ex delivery, through UK-based Original BTC. Co Monaghan-based Mullan Lighting also offers a classic picture light that is made of solid brass and has one finish only and is somewhat more affordable. Its Elle comes in three sizes; 35.5cm long, €90; 50cm long, €150 and 60.5cm long, €190. mullanlighting.com; originalbtc.com


Artworks can play with depth of field in a room too. The Stamba Hotel in Tbilisi, Georgia, is housed in a former publishing house where its brutalist concrete skeleton forms party of the design. Powder-coated wire cages, as well as open shelving house books that you can peruse and in front of the latter is a large painting that has been set on a track so that you can move it across the shelving to change the look of the room and to hide or show off certain objects. stambahotel.com


You can hang anything from a fine art work to a beautiful photograph of your family says independent curator Anne Mullee and artist in residence at South Tipperary Arts Centre. She suggests a gallery wall where you can also play with the textures and shapes of the frames to create a shape so you create an artwork within an artwork, like you see here in a seating area in the Principal Edinburgh, curated by Artiq, which is set within the "frame" of the wall panelling. Ellipse and diamond shapes are fashionable, she says and she recommends framers Hang Tough and Copper House Gallery in Dublin, Galway-based Gort Framing Studio and the Framemaker in Cork. For sculpture or ceramics she suggests a plinth or a floating shelf, but not the mantle in case the cat might jump up and knock it down. She also makes house calls within the Dublin area to suggest hanging ideas and charges €500 per hour. Hangtough.ie; thecopperhousegallery.com; theframemaker.ie; gortframingstudio.ie; annemullee.com; the-principal-edinburgh.edinburgh-hotel.org


"When it comes to creating exciting interiors, texture is absolutely key and part of our design aesthetic," says Roselind Wilson, owner and creative director of her eponymous design house. "It's a surefire way to add warmth, depth and its layers help to bring a design scheme together." In this library in north London's Belsize Park she's used leather as straps from which to suspend a framed photograph on a blackened bronze-coloured and powder-coated steel picture rail. The leather riffs with super sensuous suede walls. Out of sight and on the other side of the door is a large oil painting of an 18th-century tall ship, housed within a traditional gilded frame. It is also hung from that same rail but is suspended from hooks and hangs at a slightly higher level to the photograph. roselindwilsondesign.com


Use existing architectural details to help position artworks within a room. In the livingroom of this New York brownstone by Barker Associates Architecture, a work has been set atop the simple timber mantle, and leans against the chimneybreast. What creates the beautiful symmetry here is the fact that the mantle is set at exactly the same height as the base of the glazed cabinets. It draws a horizontal line that runs the depth of the room and brings a pleasingly simple sense of balance to the space. You can also use naturally occurring niches or nooks, such as the kitchen range chimneybreast as a place to hang a work and let the outline of the niche frame the framed work. baaostudio.com


A lot of people eschew art in the kitchen for fear of damaging the work and indeed the sensitive restoration by conservationists of our own Caravaggio, the one found hanging in the Jesuits' diningroom on Leeson Street, had to remove years of grease build-up. Some extractor brands have carbon zero filters on models that will help minimise such pollutants. It is also recommended that you hang lesser works in this space and minimise any contamination by putting them behind glass. Pictured is a set of 19th-century style prints set in a quartet, each costing €230, framed by Galway-based Martina Dempsey of Bella Casa in a house in Lahinch, Co Clare, designed by Shirley Bredin and hung above a sideboard, €850. The marine theme has also been carried through to the coral lamp, about €200 through Bredin. bellacasa.ie