The Many Shades of White // in Art and Interiors

March is a month of transition. We are tired of the cold, and the flat colors of winter, grays and browns. We're waiting expectantly for spring to arrive, and with it the beautiful colors of the season. Before we get there, I have been thinking of white, and its many shades. White is associated with light, freshness and new beginnings. As we anxiously wait for the new season to arrive, a look at white and how neutral artwork looks great in a variety of interiors, especially as part of an all-white decor, layered with texture, fabrics and variations of color. March2015_Eblast

During the winter, it's always refreshing to wear or see someone in shades of white. Winter white is a warm color, with yellow undertones. There is an elegance to white clothing, especially in contrast to the black, or dark clothes we usually wear in the fall and winter months. A preview of classic winter whites from Ralph Lauren’s new Fall 2015 collection


I recently read on GOOP about the redesign of Gwyneth Paltrow’s music room in her Hamptons home by designer Windsor Smith, and loved this white room. It works  beautifully because of the crisp dark contrasts and layers of color, including the abstract painting.Gwyneth.natural painting

The crossover between fashion, interiors and art is particularly clear with color trends. Windsor Smith Interiors puts together inspiring collages on Instagram showing the parallels and influence across the different disciplines. The clarity of white has always appealed to modernist artists, from Mondrian to Barnett Newman, and also to architects, from Le Corbusier to Richard Meier. I loved this recent Instagram post, classic architecture paired with a new sculptural design from Prada.

Windsor smith.prada

The beauty of white in the various arts is that you can create interest and complexity by using different shades together to create an interesting neutral color scheme. The hues and intensity of a white vary depending on how much of other colors, red, yellow, grey are in it, from cool and crisp white, to warm beige, ivory, linen, cream, vanilla and more. In a recent article, The Insiders Guide to Decorating with White, in Country Living Magazine, I read that Benjamin Moore offers over 200 shades of white.


Various interior designers discussed their preference for using white, from paint to furnishings to artwork. Darryl Carter said, "White rooms are more complex than they appear, because there are no distractions. Every choice becomes critical.” This white room is warm, especially complimented by natural woods and the addition of an all-white artwork

Country Living.white-room-carter-xl

Designer Suzanne Kasler says its her “liberal use of ivories and creams — plus loads of natural texture” that gives her classic rooms their casual, contemporary appeal. Her home is all whites and natural colors. The design and layout of the collection of artworks by Kris Ruhs add pattern and interest to the neutral living room.S.Kasler, ADI have collected a number of all-white rooms, many with tonal white artwork on my "White" Pinterest board. The style, look and color white of these rooms vary. From this crisp contemporary white room by Eric Cohler accented by warm woods with a large scale white painting

Eric Cohler

to designer Jill Stuarts’ cool sleek bedroom, with a large modern painting, White on White, by Julie Olitski

Jill Stuart

to Vicente Wolf’s dining room with a mix of materials and whites, complimented by a sculptural triptych of white artworks which adds depth to the spaceV.Wolf

RE photographer Shelli Breidenbach’s large scale Abstract Shells are the visual centerpiece in this yachts stunning interiorsSB.Shells.yacht2

SB.Shells.yacht The color white is versatile, it's many shades, from warm to cool, can vary and change the mood of a room, whether in the paint color, fabrics, accessories or art. White artwork, with nuances of color, texture or pattern, beautifully compliments and enhances a white palette. The large scale plaster bas relief by artist Mark Beard in this tonal room by Victoria Hagan brings a quiet drama to the elegant space.

VHagan.white relief

Here is our selection of RE artworks in the many shades of white. These can be the starting point in creating a personalized white on white space. Photographer Barbara Erdmann creates graphic images by capturing patterns in nature.  Mesh looks great alone or is striking when used as a diptych or triptych, with it's varying shades of whites and beige8654 Mesh

Another of Breidenbach's Abstract Shells, No. 3, these graphic images work as a grouping, as in the yacht, or alone

SB.spine shell

Artist Andrea Bonfils' underwater photographs have an ethereal quality, especially Joy, of a woman floating in a diaphanous white dress. Installed by the artist at her clients' light and airy white home


In Winters Dream, artist Kerri Rosenthal captures the nuances of whites in her abstract snowy landscape

KR.Winters Dream_48x48

For horse lovers, Shelli Breidenbach's portrait of Flamissy would be a great addition to a room with the contrast of warm woods and natural fabricsCF023837 Flamissy

The beautiful serenity of the sea and sky in Stefan Radtke's Sound Portrait #1, with its subtle gradations of cool color, would be the perfect beginning for a quiet peaceful room

SR.sound portrait 1

I look forward to the transition to a more colorful season, and the natural beauty of the grasses, trees and flowers that will (hopefully) soon be blooming. Color is always an option in the coming months or you can opt for white on white, even in flowers, as in Morning Blooms, by Kerri Rosenthalphoto 2

Looking forward to the change of season and color...happy (almost) spring!

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