He bought the first piece when he was just out of college. That was almost two decades ago. “We moved in here because of the wall space,” says Patrick Hardy, who lives with his partner, Stephen Dahlan, in an Arch Street loft with soaring views of Center City. The first pieces of art that Hardy collected were very figurative. “I was really interested in portraits,” he admits. Today, he and Dahlan have cultivated a more abstract aesthetic thanks to urban-inspired artists from Philly and around the world.
The views from the massive windows in this former industrial space—with clear shots of the Art Museum and the Comcast Center—have nothing on the eye candy inside the couple’s home. More than 200 pieces of art (though they’ve never counted)—everything from drawings and paintings to sculpture and mixed media—share the lived-in space, in which contemporary mid-century design meets English Country. It’s a home the two men share with their beloved dogs, Oscar and George.
The couple (Hardy, left, and Dahlan, right) spend time with their dogs and their most recent acquisitions by the gay Spanish artist Germán Gómez (from the 2007 series “Compuestos,” left to right along the back wall): Carlos Thomas, Robert Peter Marc, and Dimitri Andres Marcos. Above the mantle is Red and Black, by Neil Anderson.
When Hardy began collecting, he focused on unknown and emerging artists. This painting, 1126, by Nick Stathopoulos, is from a student show at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. They’ve since forged relationships with galleries such as Bridgette Mayer near Washington Square. “We met Germán Gómez through Bridgette,” Hardy says. Gómez is exhibiting new works at the gallery in April.
“The horse racing game was a gift from my mother to my father about 50 years ago,” says Hardy, a native of Paducah, Kentucky. “My father loved horse racing. When I bought my first house, she gave it to me as a gift.” Today, the couple regularly hosts Kentucky Derby parties in their loft with no shortage of mint juleps—a commemoration of Hardy’s hometown roots.
The couple’s Frenchie, Oscar, makes himself at home in a guest room where the colorful geometric painting The Modern World, by Odili Donald Odita, hangs above the bed. The artist, who borrows his style from the Op Art movement and African culture, exhibited in a major show at the ICA in University City.