2015 Art Books for Holiday Gifting

If your family, friends and clients love art and architecture, we have the solution to gift giving this holiday season. We’ve put together a list of our favorite exhibition catalogues, monographs and books published this year about American, Modern and Contemporary art. These publications will transport you to exhibitions around the world and place you within the walls of the world’s most important art institutions. These insightful and beautiful books are perfect for collectors, art enthusiasts and book lovers, and those you wish to inspire… 

Wishing you a very happy and healthy holiday season!

Picturing the Americas:  Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic

by Peter John Brownlee (Editor), Valéria Piccoli (Editor), Georgiana Uhlyarik (Editor)
$65 | Yale University Press

One of our favorite museum exhibition catalogues from 2015 is Picturing the Americas: Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic, published in conjunction with the exhibition co-organized by the Terra Foundation for American Art, currently on view at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, through January 18, 2016. 

As nations in the Americas gained independence in the early 19th century, a pictorial landscape tradition emerged. Picturing the Americas offers the first comprehensive treatment of this genre on both American continents, bringing into dialogue the landscape traditions of artists practicing between 1840 and 1940. The catalogue is brilliantly illustrated with 260 color images, including works by U.S. artists Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Church, and Georgia O’Keeffe; Canadian artists Joseph Légaré, Frances Anne Hopkins, and Lawren Harris; Mexico’s José María Velasco, Uruguay’s Joaquín Torres-García, and Brazil’s Tarsila do Amaral.

Exhibition: Art Gallery of Ontario; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil June 2015 - May 2016

Frederic Church: The Art and Science of Detail
by Jennifer Raab (Author)
$65 |Yale University Press

This book takes you on an adventure around the world as Jennifer Raab analyzes Frederic Church’s stunning landscape paintings.

Frederic Church (1826-1900), considered the most celebrated painter in the United States during the mid-19th century, created monumental landscapes of North and South America, the Arctic, and the Middle East. The book traces Church’s movement away from working in oil on canvas to shaping the physical landscape of Olana, his self-designed estate on the Hudson River, a move that allowed the artist to rethink scale and process while also engaging with pressing ecological questions. Beautifully illustrated with dramatic spreads and striking details of Church’s works, Raab’s reconsideration of Church’s paintings is both insightful and engaging.
Source: yalepress.yale.edu 

Audubon to Warhol: The Art of American Still Life
by Mark D. Mitchell (Editor), Bill Brown (Contributor), Katie A. Pfohl (Contributor), Carol Troyen (Contributor)
$65 | Yale University Press

Published in conjunction with the exhibition Audubon to Warhol: The Art of American Still Life on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, should be on the shelf of every American art lover and collector.

The first survey of American still life in three decades, this fully illustrated catalogue documents 130 oil paintings, watercolors, and works in other media and divides American still life into four discrete eras, each characterized by a predominant form of vision: describing, indulging, discerning, and animating. Insightful introductory texts examine the connection between still life and America culture, the lasting impact on the genre and numerous other topics. Featuring masterpieces by John James Audubon, the Peale family, William Michael Harnett, Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, and others, this survey of American still life from its beginnings in the late 1700s to the Pop Art era of the 1960s is newest standard reference on the subject.
Source: yalepress.yale.edu  

Exhibition: Philadelphia Museum of Art October 27, 2015 - January 10, 2016

Wyeth: Andrew and Jamie in the Studio
by Timothy Standring
$45 | Yale University Press

We love books that give us the opportunity to enter an artist studio and this publication does just that.

Whether you are new to the work of Andrew and Jamie Wyeth or are familiar with it, this exhibition catalogue reveal how their art making converged and diverged over the years. This 224-page illustrated catalog accompanies the exhibition "Wyeth: Andrew and Jamie in the Studio," on view through February 7, 2016 at the Denver Art Museum. Author Timothy J. Standring provides the reader with a rare personal glimpse into the artists’ world by chronicling his visits to their studios in the Brandywine Valley and Midcoast Maine over the course of four years. Despite their similar habits of mind, studio practice, and rural Pennsylvania upbringing, this father and son produced strikingly different work. Standring situates each artist’s oeuvre in the context of their shared biographies, place, and artistic practices and should be on the top of any holiday wish list. 
Source: denverartmuseum.org

Exhibition: Denver Art Museum, November 8, 2015 - February 7, 2016

Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957
by Helen Molesworth, Ruth Erickson
$75 | Yale University Press

While it is impossible to fully measure the tremendous impact Black Mountain College had on the development of contemporary art in America, this book certainly highlights it invaluable contributions.

In 1933, John Rice founded Black Mountain College in North Carolina as an experiment in making artistic experience central to learning. Though it operated for only 24 years, this pioneering school played a significant role in fostering avant-garde art, music, dance, and poetry, and an astonishing number of important artists taught or studied there. Among the instructors were Josef and Anni Albers, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Buckminster Fuller, Karen Karnes, M. C. Richards, and Willem de Kooning, and students included Ruth Asawa, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert De Niro Sr. and Cy Twombly.
Source: yalepress.yale.edu/

Ellsworth Kelly
by Tricia Paik
$125.00 | Phaidon Press

The only complete monograph to cover Ellsworth Kelly's entire career from the 1940s to today.

Created in close collaboration with the artist, this monograph encompasses his paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, postcard and prints, focusing on key phases and works of art from all periods. Enriched with in-depth interviews with Kelly, images from his personal archive, artworks by the artists who have inspired him, and his own works, this survey celebrates Kelly's individual approach to his art. This monograph also features short essays by leading writers and critics, including Robert Storr and Richard Schiff, and an illustrated narrative chronology, with many never before published images.
Source: phaidon.com

Frank Stella: A Retrospective 
By Michael Auping; With essays by Jordan Kantor and Adam D. Weinberg, and an interview with Frank Stella by Laura Owens.
$75 | whitney.org

Currently on view is the Whitney Museum of America Art’s inaugural retrospective, a career survey of Frank Stella (b.1936), one of the most important living American artists.

Frank Stella: A Retrospective is the most thorough examination to date of Stella’s astounding contributions in all media, which cemented his role as one of the significant practitioners of modern abstraction. Filled with an outstanding plate section comprises more than 100 works - many reproduced for the first time, a detailed chronology and an interview with Stella conducted by American painter Laura Owens, the art and life of Frank Stella is illuminated like never before.

Exhibition: Whitney Museum (October 30, 2015 - February 7, 2015); The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Apr 17, 2016 - Sep 04, 2016).

Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art
by Nancy Princenthal
$39.95 | Thames & Hudson; 1st edition (June 16, 2015)

Agnes Martin
by Frances Morris and Tiffany Bell
$55| D.A.P (2015)

This year has brought renewed focus on the work of Agnes Martin, with the release of the first book-length biography on the artist and the debut of her first posthumous retrospective at the Tate Modern, London.

A contemporary of the Abstract Expressionists though often identified with Minimalism, Martin was one of the few women artists who came to prominence in the predominately masculine art world of the late 1950s and 1960s, and became a particularly important role model for younger women artists. After Martin left New York and moved to Cuba, New Mexico, in 1967, she did not paint for seven years, until the late 1970s when she began to exhibit regularly and have major traveling exhibitions. Together these publications tell the story of Martin’s successes and hardships and contain beautiful reproduce many of her abstract masterpieces.
Source: artbook.com and thamesandhudsonusa.com

Barnett Newman: The Late Work, 1965–1970
Bradford A. Epley and Michelle White; With a contribution by Sarah K. Rich
$55 | Yale University Press (Apr 28, 2015)

In the first scholarly publication devoted to the late work of Barnett Newman (1905–1970), the Menial Collection’s curator Michelle White and conservator Bradford A. Epley provide a rare glimpse into Newman’s somewhat mysterious studio practice, giving insight into his full body of work and an eye-opening analysis of three unfinished paintings. Best known for his zip paintings—in which vertical lines traverse large planes of color—Newman has come to define the spiritual aspirations and material innovations of American painting in the mid-20th century. His work was a departure from his contemporaries’ gestural abstraction and seems to have anticipated the Color Field paintings of the next generation. During the last five years of his life Newman worked primarily in acrylic rather than oil, used increasingly vibrant colors, and experimented with shaped canvases.
Source: menil.org

Roy Lichtenstein: Drawing First
by Danilo Eccher
$60 | Skira

Drawing remained at the center of Roy Lichtenstein’s artistic process, as complete works of art and original ideas that served as the source inspiration for his great, world-famous masterpieces. Written in close collaboration with the Roy Lichtenstein Estate and Foundation, this monograph is a stunning book which contains over 200 works on paper by the American artist, currently in important museum and private collections, as well as a rich selection of photographs documenting the artist at work.
Source: rizzoli.com

Robert Rauschenberg: Anagrams, Arcadian, Retreats, Anagrams (A Pun)
by Jonathan Fineberg
$60 |Pace Gallery (2015)

Robert Rauschenberg: Anagrams, Arcadian, Retreats, Anagrams (A Pun) is a beautiful exhibition catalogue documenting a pivotal period for Rauschenberg’s work beginning in the mid-1990s.

The book celebrates the artist’s late work and is fundamental to understanding Rauschenberg’s powerful technique of combining dye transfer with novel supports including plaster, large-scale paper and polylaminate panels. The resulting approach would inspire the artist’s practice over the remainder of his life. Included in the catalogue is an  essay by art historian Jonathan Fineberg and full-color reproductions of works from his Anagram, Arcadian Retreat and Anagram (A Pun) series, including several work from Rauschenberg’s personal collection, which now makes up the holdings of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

Exhibition: Pace Gallery, October 23 2015 to January 16, 2016

On Kawara
by Jeffrey Weiss, Anne Wheeler and On Kawara
$65 | Guggenheim Museum

When On Kawara opened at the Guggenheim Museum in February, Robert Smith described the exhibition as an “enthralling experience” that was “supremely beautiful.” The catalogue, published in conjunction with the show, reflects the success of the exhibition.

Kawara’s paintings were first shown at the Guggenheim Museum in the 1971 Guggenheim International Exhibition. Over 40 years later this large exhibition transformed the Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda into a site within which audiences could reflect on an artistic practice of cumulative power and depth. Like the exhibition itself, the structure of the book was devised in close collaboration with the late artist. The exhibition catalogue contains essays on Kawara’s work by leading scholars and critics in various fields, including art history, literary studies, and cultural anthropology. It also includes substantial, authoritative descriptions of every category of his production—the first time such comprehensive information has appeared in print. The catalogue also contains reproductions of paintings and drawings produced in Paris and New York in the years that precede the works for which Kawara is best known, as well as rare images of materials related to his working process. The volume is published in four differently colored covers.
Source: guggenheimstore.org

Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends
by Richard Ormond and Elaine Kilmurray
$60 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Elaine De Kooning Portraits
by Brandon Brame Fortune

They say “a picture is worth a thousand words”, these catalogues accompany two exhibitions which showcased the ability to capture the true essence of their friends and colleagues in a single image---Sargent in the late 19th century, and DeKooning in the mid-20th.

Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends was published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This book is the first publication devoted to the brilliant portraits produced by the renowned American painter. Sargent’s captivating portraits are universally admired for their insight into character, radiance of light and color, and painterly fluency and immediacy. This unprecedented book showcases Sargent's cosmopolitan career in a new light—through his bold portraits of artists, writers, actors, and musicians, many of them his close friends—giving us a picture of the artist as an intellectual and connoisseur of the music, art, and literature of his day.
Source: store.metmuseum.org

Elaine de Kooning Portraits was published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name, on view at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC through January 10, 2016. De Kooning made both abstract and figurative paintings and drawings during the height of Abstract Expressionism in New York City. She is best known for her portrayals of men, including such well-known Americans as poets Frank O’Hara and Allen Ginsberg, critic Harold Rosenberg, choreographer Merce Cunningham and painters Willem de Kooning, Robert De Niro Sr.  and  Fairfield Porter. 

Exhibition:  Elaine de Kooning Portraits, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, March 13, 2015 – January 10, 2016

Picasso Sculpture
Edited by Ann Temkin, Anne Umland. Text by Luise Mahler, Virginie Perdrisot
$85 | The Museum of Modern Art, New York

New York Times critic Roberta Smith wrote Picasso Sculpture is a “Touch down almost at any point, and you’ll learn something new.” Published in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name at MoMA, this catalogue documents the first museum exhibition of Pablo Picasso’s innovative and influential work in three dimensions  in the United States in nearly half a century. This publication presents approximately 150 sculptures—many of them captured in newly commissioned and multi-view photographs—alongside a selection of works on paper and photographs. Organized into chapters that correspond to distinct periods during which Picasso devoted himself to sculpture, the publication features an introduction by the exhibition curators as well as a richly illustrated chronology focusing on the sculptures included in the exhibition.
Source: moma.com

Exhibition: The Museum of Modern Art, through Sunday, February 7, 2016

Donald Judd: The Multicolored Works
Edited by Marianne Stockebrand; With essays by William C. Agee, Richard Shiff, Marianne Stockebrand and Donald Judd
$45 | Yale University Press

We are always looking for smart books that focus on particular motifs, techniques or periods in an artist’s career.

This book colorfully illuminates how Donald Judd’s signature work transformed in 1984 when he radically revised his approach to color after learning of an industrial process for shaping and enameling aluminum in an array of colors from a commercial color chart. Focusing entirely on Judd’s multicolored works, this book features essays by leading scholars who examine the relationship between these works and his oeuvre as a whole. We were especially excited that this book contains a reproduction of Judd’s important 1993 text, “Some Aspects of Color in General and Red and Black in Particular,” and dozens of multicolored works accompanied by preparatory drawings and collages, as well as photographs from the studio and the factory.
Sources: yalepress.yale.edu/

Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting
By Emily Braun. Contributions by Megan Fontanella, Carol Stringari
$65 | Guggenheim Museum Publications

Another of our favorite museum shows of 2015.

Published to accompany the first U.S. retrospective of Italian artist Alberto Burri in more than 35 years, this book features a multichapter essay on the pioneering artist and his work; an examination of his reception in the United States; and an analysis of his materials and processes across various series, informed by a detailed conservation study. More than 250 images illustrate Burri’s diverse artistic production, which both demolished and reconfigured the Western pictorial tradition. This well written catalogue reenforces Burri’s important position in the history of modern art and illuminates the beauty and complexity of Burri’s process-based works.

Exhibition: Guggenheim Museum, October 9, 2015–January 6, 2016

Paul Gauguin
by Paul Gauguin, Raphaël Bouvier, Lukas Gloor, Sam Keller
$95 | Hatje Cantz

As one of the great European cultural highlights of this year, the exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler this spring brought together about fifty masterpieces by Gauguin from leading international museums and private collections. This extensive publication traces Gauguin's artistic development through reproductions of his masterworks of both painting and sculpture-from the multifaceted self-portraits and sacred paintings of his period in Brittany, and the idyllic, wistful paintings and archaic, mystical sculptures from Tahiti, to the late works made during his last years on the Marquesas Islands. In addition, this 230 page catalogue emphasizes his invaluable influence on modern and contemporary artists.
Source: barnesandnoble.com

Whitney Museum of American Art: Handbook of the Collection
by Dana Miller (Editor), Adam D. Weinberg (Introduction)
$35 |The Whitney Museum of American Art

Renzo Piano Whitney Museum
by Renzo Piano
$60 |Fondazione Renzo Piano

After closing their doors on the Upper East Side of Manhattan The Whitney Museum made its highly anticipated move downtown. The new building, designed by architect Renzo Piano, situated between the High Line and the Hudson Rive, engages the Whitney directly with the bustling community of artists, galleries, educators, entrepreneurs, and residents of the Meatpacking District, Chelsea, and Greenwich Village. In the Renzao Piano’s book he explains how his design takes a strong and strikingly asymmetrical form—one that responds to the industrial character of the neighboring loft buildings and overhead railway.  Also published to coincide with the Whitney’s move, is this 432 page collection handbook which celebrates the museum’s storied past and vibrant present as it looks ahead to its future. Help celebrate this momentous event in the museum’s history with these exciting publications.
Source: whitney.com

MoMA Masterpieces: Painting and Sculpture
by Ann Temkin (Author)
$55 | Thames & Hudson Ltd (July 6, 2015)

Since its founding in 1929, The Museum of Modern Art in New York has brought the history of modern and contemporary art to life through its extraordinary holdings. Ann Temkins introduction addresses the historical construction of the Museum’s collection and explores the shifting issues that have guided its acquisitions, while the thoughtful selection of reproduced works highlights the range of art and ideas that constitute the evolving foundation of the Museum’s collection. It is a great survey of modern and contemporary art for new collectors and perfect for someone who hasn’t visited the museum.
Source: moma.com

High Art: Public Art on the High Line
Edited by Cecilia Alemani, Foreword by Donald R. Mullen, Jr., Contribution by Johanna Burton and Linda Yablonsky
$45 | Skira Rizzoli

Since 2009, when the High Line opened to the public, over 23 million visitors have been witness to public art projects by over 120 national and international artists, animating the grounds of this unique "park in the sky.” High Art: Public Art on the High Line is the definitive book on the first five years of High Line Art, the public art program presented by Friends of the High Line. This 208 page book includes beautiful full color-photographs of installations, billboards, videos, performances, and sound works created by acclaimed artists, such as El Anatsui, John Baldessari, Gilbert & George, Louise Lawler, Ed Ruscha, Carol Bove, Mark Grotjahn, and Sarah Sze. Short texts on artworks, artists' texts, an introduction by High Line Art Director & Chief Curator Cecilia Alemani, an essay on the history of Chelsea and the Meatpacking District will instantly transport you to the unique elevated park on New York City created on abandoned elevated railway line. Plus when you purchase this book you will help fund the non-profit Friends of the High Line, who raises 98% of the High Line’s annual budget.
Source: thehighline.org

China: Through the Looking Glass
by Andrew Bolton
$45 | Metropolitan Museum of Art

China: Through the Looking Glass made headlines this fall when the exhibition, produced by the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was extended through Labor Day, putting it in fifth place among the Museum’s most visited exhibitions.

This catalogue is nothing short of breathtaking. For centuries, China has fueled the creative imagination and served as an enduring source of fashion inspiration. This stunning publication explores the influence of Chinese art, film, and aesthetics on international fashion designers, including Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander McQueen, and Yves Saint Laurent. The exceptional gold- stamped silk cover gives way to a 296 page book filled with new photographs and Chinese- fold pages intermixed with translucent, printed vellum overlays.

Source: store.metmuseum.org