Many of you know that one of my design icons is the late Van Day Truex- designer, Parsons instructor, and Tiffany & Co. design director. An authority on all matters of design, Truex wrote an article in a 1946 issue of House & Garden about framing and hanging pictures (apparently something which confounded people back then as it does today).
Truex, whose living room is seen above, wrote that one should frame and hang a picture so that will "enhance, embellish, complement, and emphasize the picture". I agree. Truex preferred gold leaf and gilt frames for both modern and traditional pictures, although plain black or wooden frames were also acceptable. I think he would have approved of Kenneth Jay Lane's choice of frames for his Orientalist art:
Of course, not every picture is a fine work of art. For artwork that is more decorative, Truex said that framing could be as "entertaining and spirited as one wishes". I would say that these prints in a room by Roger Banks-Pye are definitely spirited- the geometric-patterned frames are quite striking.
Another treatment that I find quite charming is hanging pictures with decorative cord (although Truex, who was more of a purist, might not have agreed with me). You could use a simple cord, like that used by John Fowler:
Or you could go a bit more elaborate like Elsie de Wolfe did at Villa Trianon (although, to be quite honest, I can't tell if the cord is real or faux-painted):
Regarding placement of pictures, Truex advises one to hang or display the art in close proximity to one's furniture rather than up towards the ceiling. I think this vignette by Miles Redd sums up this idea perfectly:
And for a quirky spin on picture hanging, you could hang your artwork like Horst P. Horst did here, "like steps up the wall" according to H&G.
(Image of Kenneth Jay Lane from "Elle Decor So Chic")