Art Collecting & Interior Design

Lately I’ve found myself thinking about the intersection between art collecting and interior design. In the 90s when I began my career, most serious Contemporary art collectors lived with generic furniture. This changed when post WWII Modern European and American furniture became collectable through innovators in the auction industry, like Wright in Chicago. When Design Miami Basel was born in 2005, art collectors who were unfamiliar with modern and limited edition furniture had a forum in which to learn and acquire, resulting in the cross-pollination of art and design.

One of the great thrills of working with clients who also collect design is that I get to marry great art with great interiors. To keep up with design, in addition to the auctions, I visit Design Miami Basel twice yearly, the PAD Fair in London, and in New York, the Collective Design Fair.

Cromwell Art Collecting and Interior Design NYC

Brad Ford’s exquisite FAIR booth at the 2016 Collective Design Fair

This year’s edition was held from May 4-8 at the Skylight Clarkson Studios. Standouts included Nicholas Kilner’s craggy, spectral sculpture by Paul Evans, whose bronze consoles and table bases are highly prized. At an entirely different price point, Brad Ford showed Contemporary Northeast “makers” with a Shaker-like sensibility.

Cromwell Art Collecting and Interior Design NYC

Paul Evans (1931-1987), Important Sculpture, 1965, Welded and enameled steel, 79 x 32 x 28 in. (201 x 81 x 71 cm). As seen at Nicholas Kilner, 2016 Collective Design Fair

A contrasting vibe pulsed at the high tech Bryce Wolkwotiz Gallery, where Jim Campbell’s LED curtain was a highlight (below, left). Donzella Ltd showed a pair of Marco Zanuso’s 1950s’ regent lounge chairs, which stood out for both curves and comfort (below, right).

Cromwell Art Collecting and Interior Design NYC   Cromwell Art Collecting and Interior Design NYC

And 99¢ Plus, a Brooklyn-based art gallery, presented a brightly colored installation of lamps designed by artists, many of whom were new to design (below, left). After hours of standing, looking, chatting and admiring, it was a welcome relief to relax in cloud-covered pillows created by Various Projects in collaboration with Print All Over Me (below, right).

Cromwell Art Collecting and Interior Design NYC Cromwell Art Collecting and Interior Design NYC








Wexler Gallery showcased the highly creative ceramics of Roberto Lugo (seen below), an artist from inner city Philadelphia who combines graffiti influences and hip hop with elegant porcelain forms. This work extends the influence of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring into a third dimension.

Cromwell Art Advisory NYC

On another note, Eve Robinson Associates and I recently collaborated on her Art Library for the Kips Bay Decorator Show House, on view at 19 E. 61st Street through June 9. Some of the works on view are by Zipora Fried, Andisheh Avini, Ellsworth Kelly, Mika Tajima and Caetano Almeida. Eve and her team perfectly integrated standout furniture, both vintage pieces and limited-edition design, with art of disparate sizes and styles, creating a seamless, elegant, Contemporary interior.


Me with Eve Robinson


A passerby stops to look closely at the compilation wall by Eve Robinson Associates