Kitsch or Cliché?


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  1. 1.
    art, objects, or design considered to be in poor taste because of excessive garishness or sentimentality, but sometimes appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.
    “the lava lamp is an example of sixties kitsch”
  1. 1.
    considered to be in poor taste but appreciated in an ironic or knowing way.
    “the front room is stuffed with kitsch knickknacks, little glass and gilt ornaments”

The other day the word “Kitsch” came up in a conversation.  The word seems to mean different things to different people, and is misunderstood probably just as much as are the objects the word is used to describe.  The “researcher” inside of me begged for more clarification, and sought to explore the world of Kitsch more deeply. (Cue dramatic Indiana Jones music). 

As I began to look into this unique term, I found that people commonly use this label on everything from Velvet Elvis paintings, to ceramic poodles, vintage Hawaiian decor, and even ornately carved oriental furniture!  Read on…

Often used as a tasteful way to describe something tasteless, tacky or trashy; it’s now become more than a word – “Kitsch” is an entire Interior Design style!  Bold colors, over-the-top decorative items, and unashamed eclecticism which attract attention are just a sampling of the endless possibilities of Kitschy Chic. It is painfully awful, yet still kinda’ cool.  Almost offensive to your sense of style, while intriguing your daring side to stay open to the possibility of pulling together a room full of items that should never, ever, ever be in the same place at the same time.  Perhaps even things that boggle the mind to imagine anyone actually sat down to design, took to the board meeting to gain approval, hired a firm to produce, and then convinced retailers to eventually sell…for actual money…to real, live people.  But, I think I am laboring the point.

For the adventurous minded decorator, and those who have a devil-may-care or edgy side to their style, auctions are one of the best places to find that special one-of-a-kind kitschy piece!   A quick glance through our ever-changing catalogs will send your mind reeling with the possibilities of putting that elk head on the wall of your pouffy pink sitting room!  Or maybe introduce a Navajo Rug into your French Provencal entryway.  Toss in something really “wrong” into any decor and you’ll never feel more free!

And the next time you’re in need of an eye catching knick-knack, oddity or curiosity browse through Pot of Gold’s upcoming Auction catalogs!  We are standing by to help shake things up!

~Elspeth K. (Antiques & Collectibles Research and Evaluation Specialist, Pot Of Gold Auctions)