When it comes to selecting art for interiors, designers have wildly different approaches. Some pick one work from a clients’ collection and use it as a jumping off point for the entire project. Others will begin with the design, layering the room with patterns and textures before even envisioning how artwork will be integrated. However they begin, the one space they can always count on as a showcase of the more intriguing work is the living room. Among the spectacular work we’ve featured are monumental paintings by Frank Stella, delicate sculpture by Alexander Calder, and the politically charged work of Danh Vo. Here’s a brief visual tour of some of the major works of art that have graced the most elegant living rooms featured on our pages.
1. In Sig Bergamin’s Paris pied-à-terre, a large silkscreen and wood-block print by Beatriz Milhazes dominates a corner of the living room; a Francis Bacon lithograph hangs in the foreground (left), and a Luiz Pizarro painting is mounted at right. Vintage Platner lounge chairs by Knoll and 1970s Pierre Paulin chairs surround the cocktail table, which is based on a Hubert de Givenchy design; the floor-to-ceiling curtains are of a Kravet fabric.
2. Museum-worthy art animates übercollector Eugenio López’s spectacular Mexico City home, designed by Luis Bustamante. Here, an overscale American flag painting by Danh Vo and a two-part wall piece by John McCracken survey a living area’s Bustamante–designed cocktail tables and sofas, the latter upholstered in a Ralph Lauren Home linen. The tabletop sculpture is by Alexander Calder.
3. A two-part Frank Stella painting and a squiggly Brice Marden abstraction overlook one end of a Los Angeles living room decorated by Madeline Stuart, where 1940s Italian armchairs from Karl Kemp are upholstered in a Classic Cloth linen velvet. A Jerry Pair leather covers a Lee Calicchio stool, while on the tables flanking the sofa are an Ibo figure from Nigeria and a sculpture by Claes Oldenburg.
4. A pastel folding screen painted by French artist Florence Derive separates the sitting room from living area in a Paris apartment decorated by iconic designer Alberto Pinto. Bernard Rancillac’s steel-and-plastic Elephant chair adds a touch of fantasy, as does a totem-like wooden sculpture by Jacques Berthaux. The daybed is upholstered in a geometric fabric from Pepe Peñalver.
5. Interior design firm Aman & Meeks and architect Michael Perry gave a glamorous update to a Palm Beach estate owned by blue-chip collectors. In the living room, a Takashi Murakami cartoon sculpture joins a text-based work by Mark Bradford (left) and a sculpture by Glenn Brown (right); a Jeff Koons mirrored piece is displayed over the mantel. The chandeliers were crafted by Alexander von Eikh, and the sofas are upholstered in a Holland & Sherry chenille; the firm also made the rug. The walls are finished in Venetian plaster in a Benjamin Moore white.
6. A painting by Helen Frankenthaler anchors the living room of a Park Avenue apartment whose interiors were conceived by decorator Steven Gambrel and architect Gary Brewer of Robert A.M. Stern; the sofas and ottoman were custom made by Dune, the cocktail table by Gilbert Poillerat and Serge Roche was purchased at auction, and the vintage chandelier is from H. M. Luther; the silk wall covering is by Phillip Jeffries, and the rug was custom made by Holland & Sherry.
7. At the La Jolla, California, home of Liz Anne and Phokion Potamianos, designed by Eddie Lee, a metal sculpture by Jeff Koons frames breathtaking views of the sea. The sofa is by B&B Italia, the pair of Arne Jacobsen chairs are by Fritz Hansen, the three-part cocktail table is by George Nakashima, and the purple armchair is a vintage Nanna Ditzel design; the blue floor cushions are by Ligne Roset, and the wall cabinet is vintage Jean Prouvé.
8. In architect William T. Georgis’s La Jolla bungalow, Murano-glass lanterns he designed (which were made by Seguso) hang from the living room ceiling, which is clad in Gracie silver tea-leaf paper. A print by Federico de Francesco rests on the mantel between cobra-form sconces from India, while the doorway is bordered by a Mike Kelley drawing and a pair of Ed Ruscha prints. The glass-top cocktail table is by Fred Brouard, and the shell-form chair is by Jonas.
9. Fast-rising designer Charlie Ferrer overhauled his parents’ home in Connecticut. In the living room, artworks include (from left) a Hippolyte Camille Delpy landscape, a Mark Steinmetz photograph, a Barbro Åberg ceramic sculpture, a Michelle Knoblauch abstract painting, a wood sculpture by Mario Dal Fabbro, and a Fernand Maillaud lake scene.
10. In artist Vik Muniz’s superchic Paris apartment, a portrait of his wife, Malu Barreto, energizes a corner of the living room; the armchair and ottoman are by Bruno Moinard Éditions.
11. Renovated by Deborah Berke, gallerist Mariane Boesky’s New York living room features a wall work by Frank Stella, a white painting by Pier Paolo Calzolari, and a silver sculpture by Sanford Biggers; the bird’s-nest work by Björn Braun rests on a coffee table created by Yves Klein. The sofa is by DDC, and the hemp wall covering is by Phillip Jeffries.
12. Paintings by Yehudit Levin (left) and Fima (right) are standouts in the Manhattan living room of Nurit and Rick Amdur. Designed by Brian J. McCarthy, the room features custom-made pieces by Jonas around a James Mont cocktail table from Liz O’Brien with a teak-and-bronze commode by Louis Cane. The Beauvais Carpets rug was custom made.
13. Decorator Sara Story conceived this stylishly cozy space in Aspen for magazine editor Sue Hostetler. Hanging in a corner are small works by Andy Warhol and Takashi Murakami, while the Alexander Calder sculpture is perched between vintage Hans Olsen chairs. Joining them are a Xandre Kriel cocktail table, a Jorge Zalszupin armchair from Espasso, and a side table by Christophe Côme; the rug is by Beauvais Carpets.
14. For the 2016 invite-only exhibition “Be My Guest: The Art of Interiors,” artist Mickalene Thomas created a vivacious red-lacquered living room in an empty Upper East Side townhouse. Lining the walls are a series of portraits featuring the artist’s mother and muse, Sandra Bush, while Ena Swansea’s Party People sofa welcomed visitors. The silver Venetian-style peacock side chairs that flank the mantle date from the 18th century.
15. A large-scale work by Michael Chow anchors the living room of a Palm Springs oasis crafted by Marmol Radziner and decorated by Sophie Harvey. The bronze-and-lacquer cocktail table is custom made by Hudson Furniture, a sectional sofa by Minotti, and throw pillows covered in alpaca fabric by Rosemary Hallgarten. The Richard Wrightman stainless-steel barstools, at right, are upholstered in Moore & Giles leather.
16. While the star of this Park Avenue living room designed by Penny Drue Baird may be the Yves Klein Table D’Or, the artworks are no less extraordinary. An oil-and-magna on canvas work by American Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, from 1969, takes center stage above the marble mantel. To its right is Cindy Sherman’s 1978 Untitled Film Still #11, and to its left is the 2011 mirror piece Three Butters by the American artist Rashid Johnson.
17. The living room of Michelle Israel and Robbie Shipp’s Beverly Hills house features a work by Doug Aitken over the mantle and a sculpture by Stephanie Bachiero on the terrace. The room, which was decorated by Ryan Gordon Jackson of Studio Jackson, also shows off a sofa by Kelly Wearstler and daybed by Ryan Jackson Home.
18. Commanding artworks anchor the living room of a Florida home conjured by Victoria Hagan, with paintings by Bridget Riley (left) and Robert Mangold (right); the bronze table lamps (left) and side table (right) are by Hervé Van der Straeten from Ralph Pucci, the custom-made rug is by Mansour Modern, the curtains are of a fabric by Hiroko Takeda, and the outdoor furniture is by Christian Liaigre.