Tag Archives: Art Books

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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Newly Released Art Books: “Van Gogh – The Complete Paintings” (Taschen)

This comprehensive study of Vincent van Gogh offers a complete catalogue of his 871 paintings, alongside writings and essays, charting the life and work of a master who continues to tower over art to this day.

TASCHEN

Today, the works of Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) are among the most well known and celebrated in the world. In paintings such as SunflowersThe Starry Night, and Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, we recognize an artist uniquely dexterous in the representation of texture and mood, light and place.

Yet in his lifetime, van Gogh battled not only the disinterest of his contemporary audience but also devastating bouts of mental illness. His episodes of depression and anxiety would eventually claim his life, when, in 1890, he committed suicide shortly after his 37th birthday.

The authors

Ingo F. Walther (1940–2007) was born in Berlin and studied medieval studies, literature, and art history in Frankfurt am Main and Munich. He published numerous books on the art of the Middle Ages and of the 19th and 20th centuries. Walther’s many titles for TASCHEN include Vincent van Gogh, Pablo PicassoArt of the 20th Century, and Codices illustres.

Rainer Metzger studied art history, history, and German literature in Munich and Augsburg. In 1994, he earned his Ph.D. on the subject of Dan Graham, and subsequently worked as a fine arts journalist for the Viennese newspaper Der Standard. He has written numerous books on art, including volumes on van Gogh and Chagall. Since 2004, he has worked as Professor of art history at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe.

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Top New Art Books: “The Irascibles: Painters Against The Museum – New York, 1950” (July 2020)

The first documentation of the legendary 1950 showdown between 18 leading abstract expressionists and the Metropolitan Museum of Art

In 1950, 18 American abstract painters signed an open letter addressed to the president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to express their intense disapproval of the museum’s contemporaneous exhibit American Painting Today: 1950. The artists were William Baziotes, James Brooks, Fritz Bultman, Jimmy Ernst, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Weldon Kees, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, Richard Pousette-Dart, Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, Theodoros Stamos, Hedda Sterne, Clyfford Still and Bradley Walker Tomlin.

This artistic coalition, which included many members of the New York School and is now considered a watershed movement in mid-20th-century American art history, challenged the museum’s policies for their narrow understanding of what made certain art worth exhibiting. Though they resisted being labeled as a collective, media coverage of the museum boycott, which included a now-famous group portrait in Life magazine taken by photographer Nina Leen, ultimately contributed to the success of the 18 “irascibles” in what became known as the abstract expressionist movement.

This publication collects 18 paintings by the artists, images from Leen’s photoshoot and extensive documentation of the letter-writing process with relevant catalogs and magazines. Featuring more than 230 illustrations alongside original essays by several art historians and curators that examine the complex history of the New York School, this volume serves as a time capsule of the exciting period of early abstract expressionism in the United States.

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Art & Photography Books: “Massimo Listri -Cabinet of Curiosities” (Taschen)

From the Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici and Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II to Archduke Ferdinand II of Habsburg, these aristocratic virtuosos acquired, selected, and displayed the objects in real-life catalogues that represented the entire world—spanning architecture, interior design, painting, sculpture, gemology, geology, botany, biology and taxonomy, astrology, alchemy, anthropology, ethnography, and history.

Listri

The Wunderkammer, or “cabinet of curiosities,” saw collectors gathering objects from many strands of artistic, scientific, and intellectual endeavor, in an ambitious attempt to encompass all of humankind’s knowledge in a single room.

Marvel at the unicorn horns (narwhal tusks), gems, rare coral growths, Murano glasswork, paintings and peculiar mechanical automata. Browse through illustrations of exotic and mythical creatures and discover the famed “Coburg ivories,” an astounding collection of crafted artifacts. These collections are nothing short of a journey through time, from the Renaissance and Age of Discovery, the Mannerist and Baroque periods, up to the present day. Although many of these cabinets of curiosities no longer exist, others have been meticulously reconstructed, and new ones born.

These marvelous cabinets of curiosities can now be explored by all in this XXL collection. To realize this mammoth undertaking, Massimo Listri traveled to seven European countries over several decades; the result is a set of gorgeous photographs, an authoritative yet accessible introduction, and detailed commentary on each of the 19 chambers highlighting the most remarkable items in each collection. Discover how these timeless treasures both describe and defined civilization, the modern concept of the museum, and our very knowledge of the universe.

The authors

Giulia ML Carciotto graduated in art history from the Sapienza University in Rome. She was a Research Fellow at the Warburg Institute in London, where she also worked for Christie’s. She was editor-in-chief of the art publisher Franco Maria Ricci Editore in Milan, and now teaches at the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo and at the Abadir Academy in Catania.

Antonio Paolucci studied art history under Roberto Longhi in Florence and began his career in the management of cultural heritage. He was the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage in Venice, Verona, and Mantua. He later became Director of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence and, for almost twenty years, the Superintendent for the Polo Museale Fiorentino. Most recently, Paolucci was the Director of the Vatican Museums from 2007 to 2016. A specialist in Italian Renaissance art, he is the author of museum and exhibition catalogues, as well as publications on Donatello, Piero della Francesca, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Benvenuto Cellini, among others.

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Art Books: “Art, Artifact, Artifice” By James Prosek

Award-winning artist, writer, and naturalist James Prosek (b. 1975) has gained a worldwide following for his deep connection with the natural world, which serves as the basis for his art and numerous popular books. In this cross-disciplinary catalogue, Prosek poses the question, What is art and what is artifact—and to what extent do these distinctions matter? 

Drawing on the collections of the Yale University Art Gallery and the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, Prosek places man- and nature-made objects on equal footing aesthetically, suggesting that the distinction between them is not as vast as we may believe. In more than 150 full-color plates, objects such as a bird’s nest, dinosaur head, and cuneiform tablet are juxtaposed with Asian handscrolls, an African headdress, modern masterpieces, and more. Artists featured include Albrecht Dürer, Helen Frankenthaler, Vincent van Gogh, Barbara Hepworth, Pablo Picasso, and Jackson Pollack, as well as Prosek himself, whose works depict fish, birds, and endangered wildlife. Also included are an incisive essay by Edith Devaney and texts by Prosek that explore the magnificent productions of our wondrous interconnected world.