Decorating with antlers and animal skulls may conjure up grand stuffy Victorian parlours. However, their sculptural forms and simplicity also captivated modern painters, most famously Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986). During the forty years she lived in New Mexico, O’Keeffe accumulated a vast collection of skulls and bones which she used as subject matter, including her iconic Cow’s Skull Red White and Blue (1931, MET, NY). While this may seem macabre to some, O’Keeffe’s paintings are both beautiful and serve as a stark reminder of our mortality.
Georgia O’Keeffe, Horse’s Skull with White Rose, 1931
In sparse modern interiors they can offer texture, form, warmth and, strangely, life.
Abigail Ahern via Heart Home
via still inspiration
Photo Stacey Brandford via desire to inspire
via walking around where the sidewalk begins
Photo Jake Curtis via desire to inspire
Interior design Kelly Behun via desire to inspire
via the style files
Scott Newkirk‘s Home in Brooklyn via remodelista
via keeping up the joneses
Living etc via Cool of Beauty
via decor de provence
via la maison d’ anna g
via via la maison d’ anna g
Bones at Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ranch, New Mexico
I am far more comfortable with this trend than another one that’s emerging: taxidermy. I can’t forget its traditional purpose: to proudly display the hunting prowess of the patriarch. I shall never forget visiting the High Range Club in Munnar, India. In a salon decked with a variety of growling creatures hung a sign under the most majestic of them, a tiger: “This is the last known of this species and was killed by the President of the Club”.
Deers shed antlers naturally, and found skulls and bones don’t have the same problematic provenance as do the trophies in the High Range Club. Having said that, in Canada it is illegal to remove antlers from National Parks and doing so incurs a $25,000 fine. Perhaps the more sensible, legal and sympathetic way is creating faux antlers out of wire and branches as seen above.
What do you make of this re-emerging trend?