Recently more and more of my clients have been asking me to hang art arrangements on their walls. Most have moved into new houses and don’t know where to begin. They’ve accumulated lots of art over the years and need helping sorting through the art to decide what to keep and where to hang it.
I’ve hung many art exhibitions over the years in galleries and museums and I feel comfortable doing this work. Usually you need another person to help hold and hang the art, especially if there are large artworks. Here’s the list of materials I use. I like to use the type of hooks sold in most hardware stores for hanging art. When purchasing the hooks buy several sizes to accommodate the different weight of each piece. Blue painter’s tape for where you will hammer the nail. This protects the wall. A hammer, pencil, tape measure, and level.
For the arrangement above I selected art that the client had that I thought would look good together and make an interesting arrangement. I was looking for art of different sizes and variety so that the combination of media would be interesting and eye catching. I like to use different frames for each piece which gives each one a unique look. I arrange the pieces on the floor first and move them around until I have a pleasing arrangement. Then I make a small sketch or take a photo of the floor arrangement to use as a reference. I also measure how far one piece is from another.
Many people ask how high to hang a piece of art. Eye level is the answer. I realize eye level varies from person to person but the general rule is that 60″ from the floor to the middle of the art piece is eye level. In the arrangement above I started with the Picasso print (second from the right). It was a large piece that anchored the arrangement. The person who was helping me held the piece up on the wall and I put a tiny pencil mark on the wall at the center top where the frame meets the wall. I then measured the distance from the wire on the back of the picture to the top of the frame. If, of example, it was 6 inches, I measured six inches down from the mark on the wall and that was where I put a small piece of blue tape and hammered in the nail. The first piece was up, I leveled it, and it looked great. Then it was pretty easy to follow the sketch or photo to see what to hang next. In the case above I hung the two smaller pieces on the left of the Picasso. And then the last two.
The client also wanted me to hang art going up the stairway.
I wanted to hang the art evenly apart from each other and close to the wainscoting following the diagonal of the staircase. Again I like the eclectic look of the different types of art and frames. The other thing I had to consider was that you can see part of the stairway and landing from the dining room. So the art had to look good from that vantage point as well.
There is definitely an “art” involved in hanging art and art arrangements. You need to be able to choose what looks good together and what doesn’t. You need to have a sense of proportion to determine the sizes of art that will hang together well. I love helping my clients rediscover the art that has been hanging on their walls for years and seeing it again as if for the first time in new arrangements.