Decoration and Art: A couple not always well agreed.

Decoration and Art: A couple not always well agreed.

A current vision of decoration and art

In the art world, considering artistic works as a mere ornament is little less than an anathema.

Or at least in recent decades this trend has been imposed.

In fact, classifying a work of art as decorative is not exactly a compliment according to which sectors of art that phrase is directed towards a work and / or artist.

The question is at less curious when most of the great art hung in the most prestigious museums in the world has had an ornamental purpose throughout history.

Art for centuries, not to mention millennia, has been used to decorate private or public spaces.

There is a long tradition that goes from the frescoes of Nero's Domus Aurea to the mural that Peggy Guggenheim commissioned for his New York apartment to Jackson Pollock and that was the germ of abstract expressionism.

To declare that decorative art is a bad art is at least pretentious, when not simply inaccurate.

Art and Interior Design

Positions from the art world about its use in decoration

It is common to find in interior design magazines articles in which we are advised how to place the paintings or sculptures to enhance a bland architectural space to transform it into a special site.

A work of art is usually a good culmination to extol the work of any decoration or interior design professional.

But this fact, which is seen by some people who live around the art world as an opportunity, is valued very negatively by others.

Can we consider art as a simple decorative element? Or choose a picture because it matches our curtains or furniture?

  • This causes that there is a front of opinions that consider decoration as a useful tool to bring the general public closer to art, even to art collecting.
  • Others warn of the danger involved in analyzing art to the point that a work or another is chosen not because of its artistic value but because of how well they combine with the color of the sofa or curtains.

This negative concept in the world of decorative art can come from what some understand by art today and that does not only address aesthetic and visual tastes, but rather a message in a socio-political context.

While decorative art attended, and we can almost say, that caters to aesthetic tastes and visual or emotional pleasure.

Does this mean that decorative art must necessarily be a second art?

Not in our opinion.

The Bauhaus school revolutionized art, architecture and design by helping to spread many of the approaches of the modern movement, and seeking the relationship between art and design.

But if it is true that at least today there are differences between art and decoration, so the goal of decoration is always to beautify spaces and that of art does not necessarily imply beautification and often the opposite happens with art today. 

It is true that many collectors begin in this world of art thinking how to beautify their house but when they move forward in the world of art purchase, they realize that art is something else, something that serves to live and also to differentiate themselves from others. 

This current affirms that normally they are the hardest works, with which it is more difficult to live together, they are the ones that make us vibrate the most and the ones that last the most in time and in memory.

The art in decoration

How is this coexistence between art and decoration seen from interior design?

Many designers, interior designers or/and decorators look for in the work of art an element that enhances their final work.

Sometimes the design can be inspired by the work of art, in others the work that complements that design is sought by taking it to another dimension.

Many times the artist has not created that work with any ornamental function, but the eye of the decorator or interior designer is what leads him to see that this work fits perfectly with the design he has proposed.

Even do when the artist during the creation process has never thought of his work as something ornamental.

Art is sometimes a political and reflective tool and sometimes a way to enjoy the pleasure of contemplating something beautiful.

Both conceptions are valid and sometimes complementary and do not have to be exclusive.

In the United States a branch of interior decoration is beginning to develop that bases its projects around the owner's art collection.

Instead of using art as an element to decorate and finish a house, it is about planning the whole design of an architectural space around the owner's art collection.

All decoration revolves around works of art and their perfect integration into the space designed for the collector.

We must not forget that collectors do not necessarily place their works in the physical spaces they inhabit.

Moreover, it is not unreasonable to consider that you can only call someone with collector's property when you no longer have where to hang your pieces and you must make use of warehouses to keep them properly.

Interior design or decoration project

Certainly the coexistence of art and decoration is not always easy.

From the point of view of the interior designer or decorator it is not always easy to introduce a client into the works of art, who can say that the interior design of his space ends when the last curtain is placed.

Some learning is required for the client to value the contribution made by a work of art to the space in which it will be located, but if that work of art is also of quality, it certainly does so in a wonderful way.

And in this sense we have no choice but to agree with Oliva Arauna who gives us the key element to understand the dilemma of art as a decorative element:

"Good art is not the one that matches you with the sofa, but rather the one that prevents you from putting the couch."

In spite of everything we can say that art and decoration have been linked since its beginnings and have evolved in parallel.

One of the big nightmares for an interior design lover who receives a visit at home is for the guest to tell him: "well, I have the same bookshelf."

Entrusting art with the most outstanding elements of a composition, ensures that exclusivity component that is often sought in decoration.

A painting, a sculpture or a mural gives a stay of personality, character and originality.

For the decorator a work of art is always an ally. A work of art has the added ability to convey emotions and attract the viewer.

Therefore, for the interior designer or decorator, a work of art is always the perfect icing that determines creative work and also adds beauty to the space that has been designed, exclusivity.

It can be said that both are different disciplines, with different objectives but in a sense they are condemned to be understood and complementary.

Wide scope and creativity will be necessary to integrate the work of art into the decoration work but the result will always be worth it.

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