We thought it would be interesting for us to show each other a few of the pictures we have chosen to put up on our own walls at home.
During the first week of lock down, we at Eames Fine Art took pictures of our own art collections at home (the results can be seen in an earlier blog). Then in the second week we asked some of the artists which we represent at Eames Fine Art to do the same...
We have quite a collection of artist’s prints, mostly that we have swapped and also some we have bought ove the years, but none are big enough to fill the biggest walls in our flat. So we like to use those walls for our favourites of our own work. Sometimes to look at our new pictures to decide if we’re happy with them, and occasionally we get to keep one or two that don’t sell in exhibitions. These two are both Anita’s; Dea del Pero (goddess of the pear tree) and a charcoal drawing; Summer Rain.
From the left: A lithograph that Nigel bought recently by the American artist Ben Shahn, a lithograph by Paula Rego called Dr Cat. Paula taught Anita at the Slade and this is a much treasured swop from the 1980s. An original Picasso linocut poster bought from the London Original Print Fair, and a Gillian Ayres woodcut bought to remember Anita’s mother soon after she died.
The entrance to our kitchen: two of Nigel’s life drawings and a painting of Anita’s to remind us of our lovely granddaughter.
Our bathroom with a Chagall lithograph, Rahab and the Spies. The spies are actually on a rooftop, but our youngest granddaughter says they are “being naughty and jumping on the bed and the mummy is telling them off”. Reflected in the mirror are 2 posters from Gallerie Maeght in the South of France; a Chillida and a Miro.
This bunkbed is for our grandchildren when they come to stay. The painting is Betty and the Leaves by Anita. Only Betty, the eldest grandchild, is allowed to sleep on the top bunk for now, so this painting watches over her and keeps her safe.
We bought these Picasso lithographs quite cheaply many years ago. They are clearly torn out of a book, but Anita thinks they were printed lithographically, from photos of the original sugar-lift aquatints. Nigel thinks they’re just mechanical reproductions. However, as we don’t have tens of thousands of pounds to buy the originals, we are happy with these! They have hung as a group like this everywhere we’ve lived for many years. The room you can see at the end of the hall is Nigel’s studio. He collects orchids!
My passion for collecting prints began with an acquisition of a proof impression of Mytton Hallby Seymour Haden that captivated me through a shop window. I was 17. I purchased Albany Howarth’s majestic etching Bamburgh in its original frame with my first month’s salary as a teacher. It took me a year to acquire my first Dürer and over 20 years to assemble all Samuel Palmer’s etchings, with states.
Why collect? It is a creative pursuit but, first of all, a true collector has to have the deep-rooted desire. Practical matters such as where and how to display or even accommodate each acquisition are cast aside, as are financial considerations. Delight outweighs the irrationality. Artworks live by us, define us and ultimately outlive us. All collectors are observers and artworks can be inspirers offering delight, solace, comfort. They can truly provide a sense of being.
I cannot put into words the enjoyment I get from a Samuel Palmer, a Jason Hicklin or a John Hoyland etching; a drypoint by Whistler or Loveday; a mezzotint by Short; an aquatint by Margaret Kemp-Welsh or Victor Pasmore; a monoprint by Sophie Layton or a linocut/woodcut by Harvey Daniels, Anita Klein or Robert Tavener. Each artist’s skill is palpable but it is much more: I wish to go on looking at them, absorb their mystery, make them part of my life; to bring this enjoyment to my living space and co-exist with the infinite beauty of incised line by Old Master, modern and contemporary printmakers. My taste centres on a love for the essence of a subject – be it a landscape or a contour of head or body. Yet it encompasses wide ranges of expression. Such are the threads linking my collection. It is a privilege, humbling and educational, to be surrounded by such enlightening company. Outside the Northern Renaissance, French and Azeri Schools, most of my collection is by Etching Revival etchers from the late 19th to mid-20th century as well as contemporary printmakers. Such works I acquire but, in truth, they acquire me. My passion has not diminished and prints are the most readily accessible art form. Those I love best tend to be small, in black ink on white or cream paper, intricate and with infinite beauty of line.
Paula Rego - The Unicorn Artist - Lithograph. I am a big fan of Paula Rego and it was one of my ambitions to own a piece of her work. Knowing this Paul bought me this print as a thank you after the birth of our daughter. It reduced me to tears when I opened the package. I love it and as you can see, it has pride of place on the mantlepiece.
Paula Rego - Nursing - Lithograph. For three and a half years I was more than a 'little' sleep deprived following the birth of my daughter. I saw every hour of the day from 2015 -2018 due to my daughter's very frequent night wakings. As a reward for my efforts I treated myself to this lithograph. I sit opposite when dining and again .... it brings me a lot of joy.
Laura Wagner - Barefoot in the Kitchen - Silkscreen. I purchased this from the Print Center in Philadelphia. I like narrative images with humour and though this print is not a style I am usually drawn to the image made me laugh.
This is where I spend most of my time; living and working in my dining room surrounded by art and family life.
Keep on sending
How wonderful to see the beautiful art in your artist's homes. Such a rich and fascinating experience. I has made me look around my own space and want to fill more walls with what is enlivening, especially in this time of reflection and isolation.
What a very interesting set of collections and articles - thank you.
Like Tim O'Brien says, I am hugely impressed by the tidiness of the various "galleries" - clearly enforced time at home isn't being wasted!
I look forward to seeing and reading more.
Thank you to everyone for opening up their homes for all to see. It was fascinating not only to see what you artists collect but also why certain pictures were purchased. They say every picture tells a story, but there is also a story behind every picture!
I am also impressed with how tastefully decorated the homes were (to be expected I suppose of those engaged with aesthetics on a daily basis) and also how TIDY, putting me, for one, to shame Well done eveyone!