Express Yourself

Sorry for the short posts of late, but I've been super busy with house guests and birthdays. In other words, I've been having a little bit way too much fun... I do love summer! Anyway, I know I'm behind the curve here, but I am completely obsessed with Mad Men. If you haven't seen it yet, well, watch it not only for the great acting and story lines, but also for the AMAZING set decor. It takes place at an advertising agency in 1960, so all the furniture is sleek Knoll and Herman Miller, Saarinen tulip chairs and Stiffel lamps, walls are covered in walnut paneling and grasscloth, all with punches of lime and red to lend character to the neutral furnishings. This isn't the best picture, but I think you can see what I mean:

mad men

The paintings in particular caught my eye, mostly because I am searching for the perfect something to fill a blank space on my wall. I never thought I'd say this, but I think I want an abstract expressionist painting for the wall behind my sofa... I really hope my old art profs are covering their eyes, because matching art to your furniture is so very naughty.

Nevertheless, Ebay tempts me to decorate away with their wide selection of vintage abstract paintings:

ab ex montage

Clockwise from top left: J. Van de Bogert, Nicola Naimo, Andre J. Grill, W. Nolte.

Although I had to hunt through pages and pages of paintings that said they were abstract but weren't (hello, people, a painting of driftwood and flowers is representational), I did manage to find quite a few gems. Of the paintings above, I really think the black and white is the best of the bunch, followed by the one with the white background.

Here are some more goodies by Bela de Kristo and I. Zevon:


I think lefty is more versatile, but with the right wall color that purple background could look fantastic. Really, though, I like both of these, but with starting bids at $450 they're too too rich for my poor poor blood.


These paintings by Martin Pearce and an unknown artist have earthy undertones that would work well against a pale aqua wall... which I no longer have.


I'm considering this 50's painting by Josef Jose but it's so hard to tell what the colors will read as in real life, and I suppose this is part of the danger of decorating with art. If you buy something because it's amazing and it speaks to you, then you'll always find a place for it. If you buy a piece to coordinate with something, then you run the same risks of color trauma that you do with ordinary fabrics, rugs and patterns.

Hey painting, if you want to live with me you better start talking.