ISSUE 95  |  Gothic Influence

10 Favorites: Portraits as Decor

October 25, 2013 5:00 PM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

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Vintage oil portraits no longer speak of formality or of ancestral eyes following your every action. Instead, we’ve been noticing that displaying portrait paintings in unorthodox ways, such as propped up against a wall or in a casual grouping gives the sense of being surrounded by the warmth and security of friends. Here are 10 favorites examples:

Above: In Belgian architect Nicholas Schuybroek’s house, a full-scale frameless portrait of a potential dinner guest presides over the dining room table. Image via Coffeeklatch

Above: Designer Michael S. Smith’s spare classicism in a Malibu villa takes Queen Elizabeth out of the 16th century and into the 21st. Image via Mark D. Sikes

Above: A portrait of Ernest Hemingway by Yuriy Rudnev hangs above a Lake Credenza by BDDW. Photograph by Alexi Hobbs via Dwell.

Above: A drinks cabinet is the place of honor for a family pet. Image from designer Emily Henderson’s portfolio via HGTV.

Above: A frameless portrait of a distinguished gentleman adds a historical note in designer Darryl Carter’s updated Colonial bedroom. Image via The Designer’s Muse

Above: Jamie Kidson of Atomic Garden in Oakland, California, fills her Mission-revival home with portraits she has been collecting for many years. To see more, go to House of Spirits: Jamie Kidson’s Mission Revival in Oakland. Photograph by Mimi Giboin for Remodelista. 

Above: SF Girl by Bay Victoria Smith mixes oil portraits with landscape paintings and color-grouped ceramics in her dining room. Image via SF Girl by Bay.

Above: A pair of midcentury portraits sit on a picture rail in an updated Arts and Crafts house. Image via Toodleson.

Above: Two gilt-framed Impressionist-style portraits are juxtaposed with modern furniture in a house by Australian firm Nexus Designs. Image via Plastolux.

Above: In a Spanish farmhouse, an ancestor casts his eye over the daily ablutions. Image by Nuevo Estilo via Eclecchic.

For more art in your life, go to The New Art Gallery: Paintings in the Kitchen.