What makes you admire a work of art and think, I must have that in my home? Perhaps it evokes a favorite memory, or you admire the way the artist juxtaposes light and color. The one rule for choosing just the right pieces for your home, according to art gallery owners, is to buy ‘art that speaks to you.’ That’s the advice they give their customers and it’s also how they choose art for their own homes.
Lynn and Lary Bozzay, owners of Grafica Fine Art in Webster Groves, have filled their home with an eclectic collection from favorite artists and places. “We don’t favor a particular style,” says Lynn Bozzay. “We love it all!” Many of the pieces have been purchased on their travels, she says, describing the rainy day that led them to an unknown Bulgarian artist who would become a favorite. “We wanted to bring something special home from Prague, but we had just about given up. On our last day, we ducked into a doorway to escape a rainstorm, and found ourselves in an art gallery, where we discovered the work of Tsvetan Georgiev Kazandjiev. It took us half a day to decide, because we loved everything!” Pieces acquired on a trip are especially personal and evocative, Bozzay adds. “Every time you look at it, it takes you back to a special place.”
Jonathan Kodner, co-owner of Kodner Gallery Fine Art in Ladue, grew up in the business and understands it can be intimidating to a casual buyer. “Listen to yourself, your instincts and your intuition,” advises Kodner. “Everybody has their own style. If you feel passionate about a piece, it’s the right choice for your home.” Describing his own favorites, Kodner says, “I have a great passion for some of the western American artists from the turn of the century and I also really enjoy some of the vintage American illustrators from that period.” It can be helpful to become acquainted with a professional in the art world for guidance and education, he suggests. “Just trust yourself and don’t be intimidated.”
When you stumble on that perfect painting or sculpture, don’t miss your chance, advises Faith Berger, co-owner of Barucci Gallery in Clayton. “If you see something that really moves you, you have to get it,” she says. “I’ve passed on a lot of things I wished I hadn’t, and you can’t go back.” Berger took her own advice to heart on a recent trip to Santa Barbara, when she drove by an art fair on the way to her hotel. “I saw this painting through the window of my car. After I checked in, I walked back, found the artist, and told her I just had to have it!” Berger explains that some pieces just resonate with her, sometimes unexpectedly. “This particular work doesn’t especially go with the decor of my home,” she says. “It’s smaller than what I usually choose and I’m not even sure what I am going to do with it. But it had to be in my life. No negotiation.”
Berger advises her clients to be prepared to fall in love with art and not to feel restricted. “Don’t be bound by the colors of a room. Don’t be bound by size. If you love it, just frame it and make it work.”