Situating Your Salon

One of my favorite modes of décor right now is the salon wall. The salon wall is a lovely way to show off a sort of miniature collection of art: you don’t necessarily need to pay for large original pieces and it’s a great way to exhibit drawings, water colors and other smaller images. Salons in 19th century France were quite similar to this current trend. Rather than display one image on a wall next to another as they do in contemporary museums, the paintings, photographs, and drawings were all puzzled together on the walls of the salon. The most favored images[1] were placed at eye level and they ones they did not prefer so much were arranged lower to the floor (so you had to bend down to see it) or higher up (where it was also difficult to get a closer look). When creating your very own salon, I would advise perhaps 1) not to cram too many on the wall, 2) leave space between ceiling and floor[2] and 3) choose images of varying sizes- putting the puzzle together is half the fun. This really can go anywhere you like too: behind a sofa, a dining room wall, behind a bar, a bedroom. One warning I would advise is about color. You know I am a sucker for color, but here it may be tough to use a lot of different images with different tones and hues. I would try and keep it to neutrals with a few pops of color that complement the room. Other than that, frame shopping can be fun in thrift stores, antique shops and even in retail spaces. Even if you’re not a very creative person, you still have your own taste so explore what you like with art and frames.

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[1] In order to get into the Paris salon, you had to be approved a board, basically. This series of acceptions and rejections lead to another salon, the Salon des Refusees which is where Manet exhibited his famous work, Dejeuner sur l’herbe and gained quite a bit of success when the Impressionists adopted it after their numerous rejections.

[2] You don’t want a ‘Garden State’ moment where you see all the framed diplomas crammed together and then one is actually on the ceiling just for good measure. I would avoid that.

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