Collecting and Displaying Art: An Interview with Emily Magevney

Art has always held a certain dichotomy for me.  In some ways, it is incredibly accessible – just visit any museum, art walk event, or city sidewalk to see works by everyone from the masters to new up and coming artists.  In other ways, however, art can feel overwhelming and inaccessible to the average collector.  What is the best way to choose art?  How should each piece be displayed?  Is there a certain strategy to placing art throughout your home?

Luckily, Emily Magevney sat down with me to offer easy tips, advice, and answers to help new and seasoned collectors make the most of their treasured pieces.  Thank you, Emily!

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EMM Ballerina

Valeriy Gridnev. Rehearsal, Dancer in Violet

  1. How did you start your own art collection? I cannot take credit for finding the art in our home. My dad is a passionate collector, and he has always made sure my brother and I live in homes surrounded by art. He asks us for our opinions when acquiring a new piece, and he gives my husband William and I choices when selecting pieces to come to Jacksonville. I have taken trips to visit artist studios and galleries with my dad, and I’m inspired by his genuine love of the works he collects, the artists he has gotten to know, and of course his generosity to share them!
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Tom Coates. A Kiss in the Shadows of Paris

  1. What is your number one tip for selecting artwork to add to your collection?  Collect art that you want to wake up with everyday and that you’re excited to see when you walk past or sit in a room with the piece. My favorite works of art are the ones that evoke a memory of a person, place or experience. The walls in our home primarily hold contemporary British paintings of scenes from all over the world, with a few exceptions like paintings of Keeneland racetrack in my hometown of Lexington, KY. Several of the European scenes represent places I spent time when living abroad. One painting that holds a special place in our home depicts a wedding party outside of a cathedral in Paris and was given to us as a wedding gift by the artist himself, Tom Coates.
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Jennifer Moreman. Smitten Two. Original Ikat Chevron

3. Are there rules about displaying different art styles or periods in the same room?  I don’t think there are rules about having different styles of art in one room. Actually, I think it’s interesting when a room juxtaposes a more modern piece with something traditional. Ultimately, the style of art in your home should match your personal style, and if that’s eclectic then I think it’s beautiful!
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Jozza de Jesus. Black Petals

4. What is the best way to frame art? I do think that frames are important and they should match the style of art they are holding. For example, a traditional oil painting looks great in a gilded frame. There are so many options, some much more elaborate than others, and I tend to be drawn to less decorative frames so that the art itself stands out. A more contemporary piece may stand out best in a sleek black frame.

Gallery wall in Emily's home

Gallery Wall

5. What are your tips for hanging art?  My tips for hanging art would be to choose a height where you can best connect with the subject of the piece, most likely eye level. If you are hanging a gallery wall, or salon style wall where works are stacked to the ceiling, this creates more options for height. Gallery walls are beautiful and add so much character to any room.

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Jim Draper. Nana

6. Do you have a favorite place to find great art?  Jacksonville is home to a lot of talented local artists, like Jim Draper who has a studio at CoRK Arts District. Local artists are a great source for collecting, whether in Jacksonville or traveling.

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John Ropp. Ortega Pier

7. What would you tell a young collector about starting their personal collection?  I would advise a young collector to invest in works of art that mean something to them personally…whether you know the artist, have an appreciation for the subject matter, or are inspired by the style. Don’t buy art because it’s a “good investment”. Buy it because you love it, and if it happens to appreciate, fantastic! At least, no matter what, you will have the opportunity to live with something that speaks to you and share it with the ones you love.

Emily graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BA in Art History and BS in Cognitive Studies.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Art Business from the Sotheby’s Institute in London, and she has worked at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and The Cummer Museum in Jacksonville.
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Annie0991B Annie Bryan lives in Jacksonville with her husband, Josh.  She is a member of the Art & Antiques Show Social Media Committee, and she is the blogger behind the life + style blog Ann Elliott (currently on hiatus).  Annie works for a start-up toy company, HeroMe, where she leads marketing and external relations in addition to serving as general counsel.
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