Art Can Be Easy

This week Jim Bennette of ACME Fine Art and Design in Boston is our guest blogger. We just completed a project together and it’s a great illustration of how technology can be a great tool– even with the selection of art.

My name is Jim Bennette, and I’ve been a close friend of Barry Goralnick’s since September, 1977, when we found ourselves sharing a tiny “pod” of space in the studios at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. These days, my husband David Cowan and I own  ACME Fine Art and Design, a Boston gallery specializing in 20th Century American Modernism, handling such notable artists as Maurice Freedman, Dorothy Eisner, Philip Malicoat, and Michael Loew. Barry has always used the main resource for his client’s art needs, but working with him on a recent New York City project, we were able to offer him innovative technology that made the whole process of choosing art with his clients an amazingly efficient and satisfying process.

Once the renovation of the downtown Manhattan loft was done, his clients were ready to purchase art for it, David and I went down to New York. We met Barry and the homeowners in their apartment, and together we established the most important locations for artwork. I photographed the entire apartment, taking special care to get excellent high-resolution frontal images of the locations requiring artwork, and noting down all key dimensions.

Back in Boston, David and I carefully reviewed our inventory at the gallery, looking for pieces that fit from the aesthetic, budgetary, and physical points of view. Once we’d come up with about half a dozen possible works for each location, we then scaled images of the artwork, overlaid them digitally into the photographs of the existing apartment, and e-mailed them to Barry for review and comment. He was able to share the images that he felt were most successful with his client. Here are some of the options for the dining room.

Dining Room Brustlein Figure D'Eches

"Figure d'echecs," 1973, by Daniel Brustlein (1904-1996)

Dining Room de Groot Big Wave

"Big Wave," 1960, by Nanno de Groot (1913-1963)

Dining Room McNeil Abstruse

"Abstruse," 1989, by George J. McNeil (1908-1995)

Dining Room Tworkov Alternative VIII

"Alternative VIII (Q1 78#4)," 1978, by Jack Tworkov (1900-1982)

The clients found these photo montages extraordinarily informative, giving them a very real sense of what each artwork would look like in their apartment. Then they came up to Boston with Barry to see the paintings in person. David and I presented the possible works individually for the clients to make their final selection.

At ACME Fine Art, Jim Bennette (right) shows a George McNeil canvas to Barry (left) and his clients

Jim Bennette presents another McNeil canvas to the group

Jim Bennette presents another George McNeil canvas to the group

Barry and his clients examine Nanno de Groot's "Big Wave," the work finally selected for the dining room

Barry and his clients examine Nanno de Groot's "Big Wave," the work finally selected for the dining room.

In the case of the dining room, the clients eventually chose  “Big Wave,” a beautiful oil on canvas by the Dutch-American artist Nanno de Groot. Notice in the photograph below how closely reality matches the photo montage above.

"Big Wave" by Nanno de Groot, as it actually appears hanging in the client's dining room

"Big Wave" by Nanno de Groot, as it actually appears hanging in the client's dining room

ACME’s job didn’t finish once the clients had selected the paintings they wanted: we took care of everything, from having the works framed, shipped to New York City, and even hung in the clients’ apartment for them. We really are a full-service firm.

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