SEGMENT IV: Creating Successful Groupings of Artwork

Ever walk into a showroom or an art collector’s home that has large groupings of art hanging on the wall and it simply looks great?

If you have never tried hanging your artwork in groups, you just might be missing out on one of the most practical ways to consolidate your art collection (and make room for new art acquisitions) while creating strong focal points of interest in your surrounding environment. The process is not difficult but it does require planning beyond simply placing a nail in the wall. Scale, arrangement and balance all must be considered when hanging groups of work.

As previously discussed, think of the space where you are hanging art as one large shape in which you will group the artwork, keeping the largest piece more centered within the grouping and from which you will work other pieces.

Keep in mind the 2/3 principle, regardless if it is a blank wall or being placed above a piece of furniture, to allow breathing room around the grouping, just as when using one large scale piece of artwork.

Select the works that you want to group with consideration to the following:

1.  Works that have similar subject matter, color palettes, genres can be grouped successfully regardless of frames as seen in the top right image.

2.  Works of a diverse subject matter, color palette and genres can be grouped more successfully by choosing either a same frame or similar color of frame as seen in the image to the right.

3.  When grouping works, there are a variety of styles of grouping one can choose from to create balance and harmony within the collection while permitting further growth of the collection.  These group configurations are simply ideas to help start the process.

Once you have selected the artwork you want to group, I would suggest to begin by laying the pieces out on the floor first to see how you like the feel of the configuration.  This allows you to make many changes both in placement but also of pieces used without placing a substantial number of nail holes in your wall.   I would highly recommend to take the time to create templates of each work, using colored paper and painters tape,  as you will find this to be beneficial in the hook placement once you determine the configuration.

When making your template (make sure to title or number the template to match your configuration), turn the artwork over, pull the wire as taut as you can while placing the template on top of the back and place a mark on the template where the picture hook should be located.  (Remember that this is where the cradle of the picture  hook is located and not the nail).  Once the template is on the wall, you will find placing the nails in the wall a breeze while keeping spacing in tact. Simply align the cradle of the hook on the template, hammer the nail through the template then remove the template.  Rule of thumb again is to keep spacing close when grouping works.  2-3″ as the closest spacing and no more than 4-6 inches for larger spacing.  There are always exceptions to rules of hanging art but these are generally accepted rules when hanging groups of artwork.  Also, try to keep the focal center of the grouping within the standard eye viewing level as discussed in the last segment, 57-60″ from floor.  Again, there are exceptions to this rule, if the collection is being viewed from a sitting position, such as in a dining room orin a living room, you may want to drop the viewing height level a bit lower.

I hope this segment on grouping artwork has opened up a new avenue in how to pull  a collection of artwork of homogeneous or eclectic pieces into a cohesive display of art while providing you with more wall space to continue your art collection.  I hope you will join me again for our next Art Talk segment.

Many thanks to the various sources who provided images for this segment-scottandersaondesign, howtodecorateitonline, and the  ballard design team.