For the Love of Art Walls, and a Hack for Unframed Art


Don’t you love an art wall? Me too. The more mixed up the better. And yet the mix must be harmonious and balanced. You know it when you see it. The stately and ordered are beautiful, of course, but the higgeldy-piggeldy and personal are such fun–like giant bulletin boards of mementos and private amusements. This is not one of those, alas, but somewhere in-between.

These pictured below were mostly cluttering up bookcases, and I was glad to get them out of there. So I could clutter up a wall. A buncha of unframed pieces, however, stumped me. You flea-market aficionadas out there know them well, yes? I cannot resist them, and they usually cost $35, so what’s not to love. Often with art walls, the total is greater than the sum of its parts. Unless the parts are, like, Picassos or something.

Art Wall illustration
Recently hung at Rancho La Zaca, a mish mash of paintings from my travels. All by me except far left, 2d row, by my talented friend the English painter Frances Knight.

 That said I wouldn’t hesitate to mix a Picasso with a Joeblowso.

Frances Schultz Art Wall
here a collection of prints, figurines on brackets, and a couple of blank frames I just didn’t want to toss, one of which was silver. The silver one did eventually partly frame a dear friend’s photo.

So what to do with those little unframed numbers? Plate hangers! Yes! Look:

Use pliers to bend the hanger out slightly for easier hanging, and to bend the prongs out slightly to avoid scratching the painting.

French Country Road, 6x8, oil on panel, by Frances Schultz
French Country Road, 6×8, oil on panel, by moi

They work for verticals and horizontals.

Cool, right? And just for fun, here are a few more art walls

Frances Schultz Art Wall
From another NYC apartment past. Fragment of NY Skyline at left by Paul Balmer, top and left of 2nd row by Kevin Beers, and the other city scenes are flea market finds. That’s my hero Nelson Mandela at the bottom, with the world on his shoulders.

They don’t all have to be paintings of course. I am slightly with botanicals.

Art Wall Rancho La Zaca Frances Schultz
Here on a back wall at Rancho La Zaca, where I live now in California. I collected and pressed these plants myself (and it looks like it, alas), gathered from hither and yon. The charming bird paintings are by the equally charming Ginny Spiers, a Santa Barbara artist by way of Alabama.

And just to go out with a bang, have you seen the fabulous At Home with John Richardson, from Rizzoli, by John Richardson with introduction by James Reginato? Richardson was Picasso’s (speaking of) biographer among other things. It’s great. Here, a big-boy art wall from Richardson’s Manhattan residence.


If you’d like  more tips on how to approach an art wall, or hang unframed art, here are a few good posts, including some clever ideas on what to do with children’s art: 

From Architectural Digest

From Apartment Therapy

From The Every Girl

Okay bye! xo Frances

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  1. What a brilliant idea. I love an art wall. I had a dedicated one in an old house. And then in my last house, I crafted one to hide an ugly tv-over-fireplace the previous owner had built in. Art is always a good use of money, I think.

  2. I found this so interesting and am going to hang a few odds and ends today, thank you. A while back i spent a few delightful days reading your blogposts from some years ago. They were so thoughtful and entertaining! I’m glad to see you have posted today and hope you can find time to do it more often. You seem to have a very joyful heart and isn’t that wonderful for all of us. have a wonderful autumn!

    1. Well thank you dear Lee, this made my day. Yes I am planning to post a bit more in the coming months, and I do so appreciate your encouragement. Let us know how your art wall turns out! Frances

  3. Every one of your posts bubbles over with “joie de vivre”–you’re aways an inspiration to be more conscious–and creative! Thank you for sharing your life!

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