Decorative Busts 

By Karen Parr-Moody



In the centuries since antiquity, decorative busts have taken their place within an array of prettily decorated rooms. During the last century, they assumed their spot among the Ikat fabrics, bamboo Chippendale chairs, and gilt mirrors of the Hollywood Regency style of the 1940s. Today, they have been freshened up for modern settings as young decorators find niches in which to place them. In particular, Miles Redd, the heir apparent to Dorothy Draper and her male counterpart, Billy Haines, tosses off a decorative bust with all the finesse of a pastry chef adding a silver dragée to a fine pastry


One doesn't have to live in an ornate, classical home to have a decorative bust make an appearance. A modern home provides a blank canvas for any decorator who wants to push the envelope with a hint of antique glamour.   Beautiful in its own right, a bust can also be unique spot for displaying favorite necklaces. 






The same could be said for the fabulous Grecian-style bust, left, that is currently available at GasLamp's Front Collaboration Booth ($65). When designer Jason Parker Counce was putting the booth together, with its theme of "Let There Be White," he wound a strand of pearls around this bust's neck and it just looked charming. Of course, it's gorgeous left simply alone, as well. 















The bust at right is another Grecian-style figure, one that will never go out of style (S-115, $28). This sculpture would look great in a minimalist, modern or eclectic interior, set against bright colors and geometric patterns. It could add a splash of cosmopolitan seriousness in an quirky room. But mixed with traditional furniture and floral textiles, it could get a bit stodgy. 









The French female bust in the photo at left has a more a much more ornate aesthetic than Grecian-style busts (signed, Paris; B-200, $159).  She could have just come in from the Roccoco-era French countryside. A contemporary classicist would take this bust and make any room look instantly elegant and rich. It would look nice among distressed surroundings to add a hint of European sophistication. 
























In the photo at right, this representationalist English lad has the feel of an auction-house acquisition ($80, Booth B-315). If one looking for a decorative something for that lonely nook, this bust fits in. With its dramatic detailing, this bust would also look striking in a room with a pale palette, placed in an unexpected place. And then there's the option of putting him in a baby bay's nursery to impart an air of sophistication and history. 


Whether done in plaster, bronze or marble, the classical art form of the bust provides an artful and mysterious feel for any space. And there are so many options. One could add a single bust to a bookcase, or place a collection of busts on shelves along a blank wall. Of course, there's the classic of collecting famous composers to top off a piano. From the serious to the playful manner of decorating, busts take one's mind to faraway times and places. So whether it's a musician, another creative artist, or a lovely lady such as Venus de Milo or Josephine de Beauharnais, sculptures are a great way to bring back the classics. 

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