Tag Archives: Art Books

Books: ‘Drawing Thought’ Andrea Kantrowitz (2022)

The MIT Press – Drawing is a way of constructing ideas and observations as much as it is a means of expressing them. When we are not ready or able to put our thoughts into words, we can sometimes put them down in arrangements of lines and marks. Artists, designers, architects, and others draw to generate, explore, and test perceptions and mental models.

In Drawing Thought, artist-educator Andrea Kantrowitz invites readers to use drawing to extend and reflect on their own thought processes. She interweaves illuminating hand-drawn images with text, integrating recent findings in cognitive psychology and neuroscience with accounts of her own artistic and teaching practices.

The practice of drawing, with paper and pencil or whatever else is at hand, is a simple and accessible means to become more mindful and aware of our inner and outer worlds. Time slows down when we start drawing. Our attention shifts. Setting aside our worries and fears about the future, we can draw ourselves into stillness. Drawing provides an active way to engage deeply with the present moment, locating our thoughts, perceptions, and feelings, in time and space.

Arts & Literature: The Top Nine Art Books Of 2022

The Art Newspaper (December 6, 2022) – The books team at The Art Newspaper has waded through the piles of art tomes published this year so you don’t have too. Below, each editor has picked three publications that shone through in 2022.

A Revolution on Canvas: The Rise of Women Artists in Britain and France 1760-1830 by Paris A. Spies-Gans (Paul Mellon Centre/Yale)

The miniaturist Sarah Biffen (subject of the excellent Without Hands show at Philip Mould gallery in London, until 12 December, and accompanying publication), born with no arms or legs, was one of many professional women artists to exhibit in major venues in Paris and London between 1760 and 1830, beyond the few currently celebrated (Angelica Kauffman, Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, etc.), as Spies-Gans’s exhaustive, groundbreaking research reveals in this beautifully produced book.

Käthe Kollwitz: A Survey of Her Works 1888-1942, edited by Hannelore Fischer (Hirmer/Käthe Kollwitz Museum)

This year has been a particularly good one for stand-alone publishing on historic and Modern women artists, and women’s significant influence within the international art world—fingers crossed this signals a shift (at last) from niche to mainstream. Honourable mention goes to Lund Humphries’s Illuminating Women Artists series, with two books in the bag (Luisa Roldán and Artemisia Gentileschi) and two more scheduled for 2023 (Elisabetta Sirani and Rosalba Carriera). It was a brutal selection process, but the first of my top three, from the many excellent books we reviewed over the last year, is Fischer’s Käthe Kollwitz. Kollwitz’s brilliance requires no introduction, but this exquisitely illustrated survey, while exploring her many iconic works, draws attention to lesser-known imagery including her subtly erotic subjects.

Jo van Gogh-Bonger: The Woman Who Made Vincent Famous by Hans Luijten, translated by Lynne Richards (Bloomsbury)

Chicago University Press’s first English translation of the Parisian art dealer Berthe Weill’s 1933 memoir was pipped to the post by this superb biography of the equally extraordinary Jo van Gogh-Bonger. So much has been written on Vincent van Gogh that you wonder what more can be said. It turns out much more on the woman who was the early driving force behind the Dutch artist’s legacy.

Gareth Harris, book club co-editor and chief contributing editor

Monumental Lies: Culture Wars and the Truth About the Past by Robert Bevan (Verso)

More and more commentators are making their voices heard in the clamour around today’s so-called “culture wars”, outlining the ideologies behind the destruction of, for instance, historic statues. Bevan astutely argues that those who manipulate our cultural past are shaping our future, making the case that historic buildings have become battlegrounds for right-wing and nationalist political arguments. Interestingly, he also questions the authority of Unesco. In one of many polemics, he says: “At the same time as its role in protecting culture has become suffocated by national interests, Unesco now appears to operate on the premise that any wartime damage should be undone.”

The Value of Art by Michael Findlay (Prestel)

This updated version of The Value of Art, first published in 2012, features important new material, focusing on, for instance, the rise of NFTs. Findlay asks, “where are the NFT art critics?… there is little discourse on the relative aesthetic qualities of the images themselves”. He also has strong opinions on “protest art”, saying: “In very broad terms, artists represent the protesting class while collectors represent the museum trustee class, and while the cultural ecosystem needs both, on issues of social justice they are often on different sides of the barricades.”

The Art of Activism and the Activism of Art by Gregory Sholette (Lund Humphries)

As a key member of the activist group Gulf Labor Coalition, Gregory Sholette has a unique perspective. Sholette examines this fascinating subject “from the perspective of an artist and activist who has been active in the field since the 1980s,” writes the art historian Marcus Verhagen in the introduction. This informed analysis spans more than 60 years of art activism, from the Situationist International group of social revolutionaries (1957-72), which directly engaged with the student uprisings in Paris in May 1968, to Black Lives Matter today, which has “unquestionably set a new high bar for protest aesthetics”, Sholette says.


José da Silva, book club co-editor and exhibitions editor

Stop Tanks With Books by Mark Neville (Nazraeli Press)

Neville’s photobook of Ukrainian life before Russia’s invasion in February is both a call to arms—the photographer sent 750 free copies to influential people who might “have it in their power to help Ukraine”—and a stark reminder that Ukraine was already at war in its east, as depicted in the photographs of soldiers manning trenches and checkpoints. However, it is the tender portraits of everyday life—people at the beach, in school, at a rave, eating ice cream—that really bring home the tragedy that has unfolded in Ukraine.

The Baby on the Fire Escape: Creativity, Motherhood and the Mind-Baby Problem by Julie Phillips (W. W. Norton & Company)

While most of the case studies in this book are from the literary world, the opening section on Alice Neel is a searing account of the complexities of balancing (or not) being a mother and an artist—and the often heavy price women pay. Neel, for example, can sometimes come across as brutal and uncaring, but these labels would rarely be used to describe an artist father in the same situation. Neel said that for much of her life she felt she “didn’t have the right to paint because I had two sons”. The book explores the difficult issues around the subject with no judgment and or neat conclusions—and is all the richer for it.

Raphael by David Ekserdjian, Tom Henry et al. (National Gallery Global Ltd)

If you missed the standout Raphael show at London’s National Gallery earlier this year, its catalogue is the next best thing. The rich imagery and texts make it the perfect coffee table book for art history buffs to dip into over the holiday season. There are also tasty titbits to tell the family over Christmas lunch, such as the belief that the Vatican’s foundations began cracking at news of Raphael’s death. Or when Munich’s Alte Pinakothek sold Raphael’s masterpiece Bindo Altoviti because it was believed at the time to have been painted by his assistant Giulio Romano, to buy what turned out to be a discredited Matthias Grünewald…

Architecture Books: Dana Krystle – ‘Sketchbook №13 – A Series Of Illustrations’

Sketchbook №13 is part of a large sketchbook series in architecture illustrations created between 2013 and 2022, in this sketchbook the illustrations were created between 2019 and 2022. Materials used in this sketchbook are mixed medias of oil paint, acrylics, charcoal, watercolor, gouache, pen, ink, and colored pencils.

The aim of architecture illustrations is directed at creating inspiration and conceptual ideas that are used for creative concept decisions in projects and mood boards.

I hope this sketchbook gives you inspiration for creating your own version of architectural illustration sketchbooks and come up with beautiful architecture designs and concepts in your upcoming projects. A thorough documentation is set to collect and archive all the sketches that were created during this series and body of work.

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New Art Books: ‘Venice – A Sketchbook Guide’ (2022)

Matthew Rice is a long-time observer and illustrator of cities, buildings and all those who inhabit them, with an uncanny ability to express the energy of a place through a few lines of ink and splashes of paint.

For years, Venice has been a source of deep creative inspiration for him; and now, in Venice: A Sketchbook Guide, he captures the highlights of this most beguiling of Italian cities. Unsurprisingly, given his abiding passion for architecture, Matthew provides a wealth of information about the ‘stones’ of Venice, including an illustrated guide to the main building styles of the city – Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Modern – and exemplars of its balconies, bridges and campaniles.

Further sections explore the city’s sestieri – its six residential quarters – as well as its history, paintings, festivals, wildlife and, not least, its cicchetti and aperitivi. Following the same landscape format as Matthew’s real-life sketchbooks, Venice: A Sketchbook Guide will combine enchanting watercolour illustrations with an informed, personal and witty text, and promises to delight all visitors to Venice, armchair or actual.

Art Books: ‘Caravaggio – The Complete Works’

Caravaggio, or more accurately Michelangelo Merisi da  Caravaggio  (1571–1610), was always a name to be reckoned with. Notorious bad boy of Italian painting, the artist was at once celebrated and controversial: violent in temper, precise in technique, a creative master, and a man on the run. Today, he is considered one of the greatest influences in all art history.

This edition offers a neat and comprehensive Caravaggio catalogue raisonné. Each of his paintings is reproduced from recent top-quality photography, allowing for a vivid encounter with the artist’s ingenious repertoire of looks and gestures, as well as numerous detail shots of his boundary-breaking naturalism. Five accompanying chapters trace the complete arc of Caravaggio’s career from his first public commissions in Rome through to his growing celebrity status and trace his tempestuous personal life, in which drama loomed as prominently as in his canvases.

The author

Sebastian Schütze was a longtime research fellow at the Bibliotheca Hertziana (Max Planck Institute for Art History) in Rome. He is a member of the academic board of the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici in Naples, and a member of the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. From 2003 to 2009 he held the Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art at Queen’s University in Kingston. In 2009 he was appointed professor of early modern art history at Vienna University.

New Art Books: ‘Vermeer – The Complete Works’

In his lifetime, however, the fame of Johannes Vermeer (1632–1675) barely extended beyond his native Delft and a small circle of patrons. After his death, his name was largely forgotten, except by a few Dutch art collectors and dealers. 

TASCHEN

Despite numbering at just 35, his works have prompted a New York Times best seller; a film starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth; record visitor numbers at art institutions from Amsterdam to Washington, DC; and special crowd-control measures at the Mauritshuis, The Hague, where thousands flock to catch a glimpse of the enigmatic and enchanting Girl with a Pearl Earring, also known as the “Dutch Mona Lisa”.

Outside of Holland, his works were even misattributed to other artists. It was not until the mid-19th century that Vermeer came to the attention of the international art world, which suddenly looked upon his narrative minutiae, meticulous textural detail, and majestic planes of light, spotted a genius, and never looked back.

This 40th anniversary edition showcases the complete catalog of Vermeer’s work, presenting the calm yet compelling scenes so treasured in galleries across Europe and the United States into one monograph of utmost reproduction quality. Crisp details and essays tracing Vermeer’s career illuminate his remarkable ability not only to bear witness to the trends and trimmings of the Dutch Golden Age but also to encapsulate an entire story in just one transient gesture, expression, or look.

The author

After completing his studies of art history and archaeology at the University of Vienna, Karl Schütz joined the staff of the Gemäldegalerie of the city’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, serving from 1972 as a curator and from 1990 to 2011 as its director. His particular scholarly interests include Netherlandish and Flemish painting, early-16th-century German painting, courtly portraiture, and the history of the Gemäldegalerie collection.

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Art: ‘Hokusai. Thirty-Six Views Of Mount Fuji’

Mount Fuji has long been a centerpiece of Japanese cultural imagination, and nothing captures this with more virtuosity than the landmark woodblock print series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji by Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849).

The renowned printmaker documents 19th-century Japan with exceptional artistry and adoration, celebrating its countryside, cities, people, and serene natural beauty. Produced at the peak of Hokusai’s artistic ambition, the series is a quintessential work of ukiyo-e that earned the artist world-wide recognition as a leading master of his craft.

The prints illustrate Hokusai’s own obsession with Mount Fuji as well as the flourishing domestic tourism of the late Edo period. Just as the mountain was a cherished view for travelers heading to the capital Edo (now Tokyo) along the Tōkaidō road, Mount Fuji is the infallible backdrop to each of the series’ unique scenes. Hokusai captures the distinctive landscape and provincial charm of each setting with a vivid palette and exquisite detail. Including the iconic Under the Great Wave off Kanagawa (also The Great Wave), this widely celebrated series is a treasure of international art history.

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Art Books: Watercolor – A History (Marie-Pierre Salé)

The most comprehensive and best-illustrated history of watercolor painting ever published.

The term watercolor calls to mind atmosphere, luminosity, and immediacy―qualities that derive directly from the quick-drying, translucent nature of water-based pigments. In Watercolor: A History, Louvre curator Marie-Pierre Salé provides an authoritative and beautifully illustrated account of this versatile and widely beloved artistic medium.

Salé’s incisive text traces the development of watercolor from the thirteenth to the twentieth century in Europe and the United States, encompassing every type of work―from plein-air sketches to finished studio pieces―and a wide variety of artists. Here are Dürer’s detailed animal studies, Turner’s landscapes, Cézanne’s tireless explorations, Sargent’s light-dappled sketches, O’Keeffe’s pioneering abstractions.

This handsome volume features more than three hundred full-color illustrations, specially printed on Munken paper to capture the vibrancy and texture of the original works. It is sure to be welcomed by art historians and art lovers alike.

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Top New Art Books: “The Art Book” – Over 600 Artists Profiled (Phaidon)

A brand-new revised and updated edition of Phaidon’s accessible, acclaimed A-Z guide to the most important artists of all time

Updated for only the third time in its 16-year history, this new edition of the award-winning landmark publication has been refreshed with more than 40 important new artists, including many previously overlooked and marginal practitioners. The new edition spotlights more than 600 great artists from medieval to modern times. Breaking with traditional classifications, it throws together brilliant examples from all periods, schools, visions, and techniques, presenting an unparalleled visual sourcebook and a celebration of our rich, multifaceted culture.

Artists featured for the first time in this edition include: Berenice Abbott, Hilma af Klint, El Anatsui, Romare Bearden, Mark Bradford, Cao Fei, Cecily Brown, Judy Chicago, John Currin, Guerrilla Girls, Lee Krasner, Jacob Lawrence, Kerry James Marshall, Joan Mitchell, Zanele Muholi, Takashi Murakami, Louise Nevelson, Clara Peeters, Jenny Saville, Wolfgang Tillmans, and more.

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