September 23rd, 2018

Panopticon art display means “to see all at once.” Here several Fred Calleri paintings are displayed floor to ceiling in a hallway.

By Eileen Treasure, Fine Art Consultant

Most of us have a varied collection of art pieces ranging from family photos, memorabilia, drawings, prints, paintings and sculpture. Some pieces carry a high price tag while others are deeply meaningful but without commercial value. Can it all work together? Yes!  Gallery MAR offers a few guidelines to help both the beginner and the seasoned collector:

  1. Keep your collection fresh.  Evaluate each piece in your collection and ask yourself whether it brings you joy. (See Marie Kondo’s books for more on this topic.)

An installation of a light and airy Matt Flint painting, by FormIt Design

2. Play with different arrangements on the floor and group your pieces by size, color, theme, etc. Try out groups of twos and threes. Snap images of groupings you like. Consider what arrangements would look good on certain walls and Photoshop them onto the wall (if you don’t have or use Photoshop, other simple online photo editing sites are available like

Two Michael Kessler paintings, arranged on the diagonal. We tried several different layouts before settling on this one.

3. Consider unique placements of art like small pieces resting in front of books or on top of a stack of books, back splash areas in the kitchen, sculpture in front of a window, freestanding pedestals or easels, and of course, the panopticon display like the Fred Calleri hallway above.

A custom painted backslash by the Kollabs artist duo at gallery owner Maren Mullin’s home.

4. Gather a few good tools:  measuring tape, level, hammer and good quality nails and hooks. Always use two nails/hooks for each picture, and it will stay level.  At Gallery MAR, we generally place the center of the painting at 60″ height on the wall — but depending on other factors like furniture, consider it a guideline to avoid the common mistake of hanging too high.

More then the “basic” tools are required for sky-high installations, especially when hanging onto stone.

5. Light your collection well, and it will shine!

An elegant painting by Jylian Gustlin found an ideal home: well-lit with ambient lighting and spots.

Want more idea? Check out this previous post about hanging art. Visit with us at the gallery to learn more about these tips and strategies. We love working with our collectors to make the Perfect Placement!