Flea Market Art

Just like with my furniture, I like my art to be a mix of modern and traditional. We’re doing another gallery style wall in our living room, similar to what we had at the loft, but I want to mix the pieces up a little. I’m always on the hunt! A couple weeks ago I…

Just like with my furniture, I like my art to be a mix of modern and traditional. We’re doing another gallery style wall in our living room, similar to what we had at the loft, but I want to mix the pieces up a little. I’m always on the hunt!

A couple weeks ago I found this ice blue with red splatters painting at the flea market. It’s an unmounted canvas so the vendor gave me a smokin’ good deal. I picked up a black canvas to staple it to, and I’ll probably frame it using my old trick.

At the flea it reminded me the Spade’s dining room. When I got home and looked up the photo, it’s not as close as I remembered, but kind of has a similar feel. Man, I love a pop of red in any room!

If you’re ever in NYC over a weekend, you should stop by the Antiques Garage (or this place!) in Chelsea. It’s literally a parking garage that they lease out to flea market vendors on weekends. Two giant floors of awesome finds. If you see me there on Saturdays, I’d be happy to point you to the best vendors. But go early! They are usually set up by 9:30 or 10:00 am and the good stuff is pretty much gone by noon.

I would say about twice a month one or two of the vendors has brought in an artist’s collection. It usually means the artist has passed away and the family is selling off their estate. So while you won’t get any of the artist’s masterpieces probably, you can usually buy a great piece from a moderately sucessful NYC artist for a great price.

Much of the art in my home, including both of the pieces above and below, were sold at the flea from an artist’s estate sale. The pastel was $5 and the giant, framed watercolor was less than $100.

The best part is coming home and researching a little about the life of the artists. So many cool stories. For example, the guy who did the large watercolor was a holocaust survivor that moved to New York after the war and decided to live the most beautiful life he could after experiencing so much sadness in his youth. His obituary in the Times was beautiful and talked equally about his success as an artist and about how much he loved his wife, and how everyone new about their deep love. It was very sweet and I feel lucky to have his work hanging in my home (such good energy!).
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29 thoughts on “Flea Market Art

  1. You have a great eye -As an artist, there is joy in creating and so be it if it my art one day is found at a flea market….I hope it brings joys to many.
    That to me is art….love your collection.

  2. Love all your flea market art! Makes for a really interesting gallery wall. And the story about your large watercolor is too cool! Wish I lived in NYC sometimes….

  3. Would you show how you stretch that painted unmounted canvas? I have been holding onto some old painted canvases myself, nervous about how to put them on a frame without cracking the artwork.
    Your how-to's are incredibly helpful! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Beautiful post, and thoughtful insights. Your trick to cut down frames is genius. Using a paper template for me would be the best, as I am a klutz with sharp objects.

    Gives me hope that my love of art-filled walls is not in bad taste.


  5. As a painter I am always so glad to see stories about people buying original art instead of grabbing some mass produced canvas at Target. You can always feel the personality in something handmade.

  6. i am so envious of your access to such amazing flea markets {and obviously of your great eye}. the gallery wall above the striped couch is perfection!

  7. The Garage really is amazing, but I still miss the big outdoor lots on 26th Street! I love living vicariously through your scores there – the art you have found is really special and you display it in such a personal way at home.

  8. I would love it if you posted about how to choose mattes – sizes, colors, proportions…

    You have a great eye!

  9. I find the pictures not all hanging straight. That enhances the chaotic impression due to all the differnet frames and images. Can it be improved or is it ment to be?

  10. I have a friend, the choreographer and former principal dancer for the Royal Swedish Ballet, who insists I take him to the Garage whenever he hits town. A great place; one needs to look closely, past the junk, and treasures will reveal themselves.

    I would suggest that people looking for original art try art schools. They often have shows throughout the semester and the works, often of very high quality, are for sale at reasonable prices and you would be helping an art student to boot. The venerable Art Student's League on West 57th Street in NYC is a perfect example of this type of school; one can call to ask about the next scheduled student show. Here's a link:

  11. the anonymous comment above made me laugh! It is very Dexter-esque, however i think it's going to look great! You do have great taste! I really love your blog!

  12. Sometimes, it is nice to go to yard sales and flea market because you will never guess what treasure you could find there. What seems to ordinary others can be just the thing that you are looking for to make your home more appealing.

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  15. I'm so glad you mentioned the Antique Garage! I was just looking up their hours and details about them yesterday so glad to hear it's worth checking out. The art you've scored is great. It's on my list for one weekend this month.

  16. The bronze bust in the second to last picture looks almost exactly like one my great-grandfather made of my uncle when he was a kid (other than it being of a girl, of course), can you tell me more about it? So curious where you found it!

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