Decorating & Design

August 27, 2018

Inside A Gallery Director’s Eclectic Living Room

Gallery director Gaëtane Verna tells us why this is her favorite room. 

“My family and I moved into this rental house in 2012, when we came to Toronto from Quebec and I became the director of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. It was already painted, and I really liked the wall color; it lightens the space and enables the artwork to animate our daily environment. The open-concept living room, which is connected to the kitchen, is central to the home. We love having long dinners with tons of friends and family. The party might start in the living room and finish around the table.

Depending on the time of day and the season, the sunlight will shine on an artwork and reveal different things. I’m constantly discovering new colors in Sharron Leggett’s painting When I am Bad. I love the title: the yellow at the top makes me feel like someone ripped a page. This work has moved with us over the years and still provokes an emotional reaction. Our understanding of an artwork evolves over time because we keep evolving.

I buy very little now, or really small artworks, because there just isn’t enough room! My 12-year-old daughter Edwige and my 16-year-old daughter Leontyne say, “Where are we going to put this?” I’ll move a wall clock in the kitchen and hang an artwork there. Some of these pieces were bought when I lived in Paris, and others are gifts from artists. I feel strongly that we should pay for art, not only to support the artist but also the dealer and the other contributors who support the art market.

Surround yourself with art that you like, that puzzles you or makes you happy. Do studio visits to meet artists. Artists love it when people ask them about their art; producing art makes sense if they can share it with others. When visiting exhibitions, ask a gallerist about the work being displayed. Dare to buy something and trust your judgment. You can always sell it. Some galleries have layaway plans — I’ve used one myself! Dealers have told me about clients who took two to five years to pay off a piece. As a dealer or artist, you’re touched by the dedication of that individual who put money aside. Look, we’ve all had posters on our walls but, after a certain age, come on!”

Author: As told to Wendy Jacob

Virginia Macdonald


House & Home July 2018