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Private view

It seems a fabulous idea: commissioning original artwork for your home. But what's the reality like?

Three homeowners - and artists - tell all. By Anne-Celine Jaeger, Photo; Graham Macindoe.

Saturday September 15, 2007

The Guardian Newspaper, Weekend magazine.

Real estate investor Darren Drake and his wife Margarete Sallay, an accessories designer, commissioned British artist Philip Mount to create a large-scale painting for their New York loft apartment. Margarete says, "We live in a bright, modern SoHo loft and thought it would be lovely to have some abstract art. We visited galleries, but it's really hard to find pieces that are perfect for your space, so we decided to commission something. We were introduced to Philip Mount at a dinner party. He made us feel comfortable, and even accepted - at first - that I have an aversion to red and Darren isn't a fan of yellow."

"Philip came to the loft several times," Darren says, "to get a feel of the space and discuss what we had in mind. He took everything into consideration, from the furniture to the books on the shelf. I was anxious before the piece was finished - it's a lot of money you're handing over. In the end, we got much more than we'd hoped for. I was blown away."

So was Margarete - despite the fact that Philip did introduce some red: "I told her she'd have to trust me that it would work. The colours and shapes are reflective of Manhattan - its concretes and raw siennas, the block architectural shapes. Some galleries would be tough on the idea of 'painting for the customer' and say it's not 'true' painting. I think houses are the future of modern public exhibitions."

Residential commission by Philip Mount, from 5,000-10,000