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Schiele to Hockney: choosing the best works of art for your office

Posted by Mark
June 11, 2014 in Features

Many people might feel daunted at the prospect of choosing artworks for an office setting, but there are numerous ways to approach the decision-making process and, by prioritising who the art is for, most businesses should be able to come up with pieces that are suitable for their needs.

Who will be enjoying the art that is chosen?

It is important to consider why you are buying or renting artworks for your office. If the reason is to brighten up an office space to boost the morale of the staff who work in it, then it may be best to involve those employees in discussions about which pieces to choose.

Perhaps your works of art are intended to make an impression on visiting clients rather than employees. In this case, they will need to make a statement about your business – perhaps one that ties in with its personality and the work that it carries out. Art that is edgy might suit the image of a modern, innovative or creative firm, while more traditional pieces would probably fit in well with a more conventional business that tries to create a more serious and respectable impression.

Originals or reproductions?

If you decide that the works of art your office needs are paintings by famous artists then it could be highly unlikely, if not impossible, for your business to purchase an original piece. Instead, you will probably look for framed prints that are available at reasonable prices.

Alternatively, you could decide to opt for original pieces of art from up-and-coming artists. Original artworks – whether paintings, sculptures or other items – have a lot to recommend them, as they have an immediacy that is lacking in a reproduction. Work by artists in the early stages of their careers can be quite affordable and your business also gets the satisfaction – as well as the positive publicity – associated with supporting painters, sculptors, and other art makers.

Matching a piece of art to your firm’s image

It makes sense to pick artworks that suit the personality of your business. A creative company with a vibrant, lively brand might choose modern, colourful paintings, for example, perhaps including those produced by David Hockney or Patrick Heron.

While vivid abstract pictures, such as paintings by Howard Hodgkin or Joan Miro, might suit a company that wants to create a colourful and modern feel without being pinned down in any way by subject matter, others may choose figurative artworks with recognisable themes that say something about their firms.

It is important to recognise that, should you choose a particular subject matter, such as rural landscapes, the range of available paintings could convey widely varying moods, from the peaceful scenes of Constable to the unsettling vistas created by Van Gogh. Pictures of people can be elegant and uncontroversial, as in a picture by Whistler, or disturbing and expressive, as in an Egon Schiele self-portrait.

Whatever artworks you decide to include in your office, they should be pieces that you and any employees are happy to live with, as you will be encountering them every day at work and, in a sense, they will become part of the office furniture.

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