Christmas Tree Decorating Themes: Modern Art Ideas

Use a modern art theme to decorate a beautiful and elegant Christmas tree.

For an elegant change from the traditional glitz and glitter on your Christmas tree, create an ode to modern art with your holiday ornaments. Whether you create an homage to a single artist, showcase a particular art school or have an eclectic art mix on your tree, this is a surefire way to have distinctive decorations.

Whether money is no object or your budget is limited, a quick stop at your local modern art museum store is a great way to get started. Many modern art museums offer merchandise online so you need not be limited by geographic distance.

In the fall, many of the museums offer signature holiday ornaments either based on modern art works or specifically created as ornaments by contemporary artists. Each of these individual ornaments can be expensive as they are truly tiny art pieces. However, it is not necessary to spend a fortune to have an artistic tree. Consider basing a tree design around two or three signature pieces by a single artist, using the color schemes and basic shapes to inspire other ornaments. Or, collect postcards of your favorite works; with a hole-punch and some ribbon, each postcard can be turned into a beautiful individual ornament. Also, look at the gifts and toys in the museum stores for other items that can be easily turned into ornaments.

Use some of the following ideas for modern art-themed trees or create your own.

M.C. Escher Lizard Tree

Escher is most known for his interlocking geometric art and amazing surreal repeating patterns. His lizards, used in his "1939 periodic drawing No.25", are well-known icons of modern art.

To create a lizard tree, either purchase card stock prints of Escher's readily available "drawing No. 25" and cut out individual lizards or purchase one of the many toys or puzzles which feature foam or plastic versions of these interlocking creatures. For the paper version, you may laminate them to make them longer lasting. Then, use a small hole-punch to create a hole to which you can attach a ribbon or string loop to use as a hangar. Intersperse the lizards on the tree with simple glass balls in complementary colors.

Frank Lloyd Wright Tree

Considered one of the most influential architects of his time, the designs of Frank Lloyd Wright have inspired a great number of beautiful ornaments. Sold by museum stores and historical societies, many of the ornaments benefit the preservation of historic Wright buildings. Use a collection of the silver geometric ornaments in this collection with soft amber Christmas lights to design a tree worthy of this organic architect.

Andy Warhol Tree

For the price of a case of Campbell's soup, you can have a tree worthy of the illustrious pop artist Andy Warhol. Empty Campbell's soup cans by cutting open the bottom instead of the top - only using the classic varieties with the red and white labels - and carefully wash them without marring their paper wrappers. Use a glue gun to affix a ribbon or wire loop to the top of each can to which you can affix an ornament hook. Wrap the tree branches in red lights to finish this pop art masterpiece.

Mondrian Tree

Piet Mondrian's geometric prints with black, white and bold primary colors inspire a distinctive tree design. Use simple white lights on this tree to avoid distraction from the simple and clean lines of this theme. Select a few postcards of classic Mondrian works, such as "Composition 1929", "Red and Yellow 30374", "Composition with Red Blue Yellow" and "Opposition of Lines Red and Yellow." Laminate and hole punch the postcards, hanging them from the tree with white or black ribbon. Match the color scheme from the chosen works with simple glass balls hung from the tree; do not hang the decorations too densely as it will take away from the spare nature of the theme.

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