Design Under the Influence: The Gallery Wall

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Hello, it’s Erika from small shop, and today for our "Design Under the Influence" I’d like to talk about the well-loved gallery wall. Seems that the popularity of this style of arrangement is still on the rise! I did a post last year before I decided to create my own gallery wall (above), and I kept finding more and more beautiful examples to share!

I bet you have a vague recollection from some image you may have seen somewhere that the gallery wall originated in pre-Revolutionary France. We have record of "salon" style art viewing from the exhibitions of recent graduate work at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris in the 1670’s. In 1737, the Academy began to hold the Salon for public viewing at the Louvre, and until the late 1800’s, the Salon was the first critical test for an artist’s success — if you didn’t make it here, you didn’t make it.

1785 Salon by Pietro Antonio Martini

That is, until Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, and Fauvists hit the scene, and were NOT well-received at the traditional salons. This is where private salons like Gertrude Stein’s (see my previous "Design Under the Influence" post here) come in. Still hung floor to ceiling, the gallery wall in their home became a resource for off-the-radar artists like Picasso and Matisse to see works from contemporaries. But unlike the traditional Salon, this was in a private residence, and owned by a private collector.

Gertrude Stein’s Salon in Paris

Today, our gallery walls are much more akin to the Stein Salon: our little private collections of pieces we love and want to share and appreciate. When creating your own gallery wall, I have these 5 tips:

Last tip, get your good fill of inspiration from these excellent examples!

Julia Leah, Lonny

Blaire Clark, Lonny

Dwell Studio

Ashley Putnam, Lonny

Kate Spade, Matchbook

Modern Declaration

Beth Rudin, Elle Decor

Elettra Wiedemann, Vogue APT

Federico de Vera, Elle Decor

Angie Hranowsky

Angie Hranowsky

Lela Rose, New York Times

Do you have a gallery wall in your home? What are your tips and tricks for creating a successful display?

12 thoughts on “Design Under the Influence: The Gallery Wall

  1. I still love gallery walls but I also like grid styles as well. I prefer them to have either the same color frames, same color mat, or same color images either black & white, sepia or color. It makes it a little more cohesive.

  2. The gallery wall is something that I like when it is very clean – the Lela Rose image is one of my all time faves – and your wall with the similar colors in each piece… but when it is sort of random and brooklyn-boho it is not my thing. Great info and pics!
    xoxo -e (modern24seven)

  3. I find gallery walls to be really daunting to install, but I like them very much. I grew up a few blocks away from the Barnes Museum here in Philadelphia. He arranged his amazing collection salon style and it was truly impressive.

  4. I love gallery walls. I sometimes pre plan it on the floor if it is a small grouping, otherwise I just start with the key piece I want in the center and work from there.
    Nice post.

  5. Fabulous post on gallery walls!!! We are such fans of creating gallery/cluster walls. We love to mix frame styles, media styles and even add plaques or plates amongst the composition. We always lay out the composition on the floor before we have it hung to make sure we get the balance just right! Our client’s just LOVE the results. E & M xx

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