New York Magazine

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Best Trompe l’Oeil Painter

  • James Alan Smith

    212-517-9570

    The term, French for “fool the eye,” may not roll off your tongue, but you’ll know trompe l’oeil work the moment you see it in a Park Avenue dining room: a mural that, at least for a moment, gives the illusion that you’re looking out on the grounds of a Tuscan villa or Bordeaux château. It takes you by surprise with its depth, and it takes serious talent to produce. Like that of James Alan Smith, a dancer turned painter who can create any fantasy on a wall, from a Tiepolo-inspired panel to a wall of chinoiserie. His legerdemain includes faux marble, wood, and stone, stenciling, and even mock marquetry on the floor (the latter could cost anywhere from $3,500 to $10,000). A recent over-the-top project involved an entire room that Smith called “a decorative painter’s dream” that added up to $30,000. But he’s not above smaller jobs: Recently, he did a charming faux-water view on a backsplash in a Southampton home, replete with a trellis and morning glories ($3,000), and a very simple faux-marble fireplace starts at $1,600. No illusions there.

From the 2006 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine

Advertising
Order the Issue Today

Cover of New York Magazine's Best of New York issue

Order This Issue

Other Best Of Guides

So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).

Read More...