There’s nothing better than giving a gorgeous, hardcover art book as a gift to the art lovers in your life. You don’t even need to be an artist or aficionado to appreciate the beauty within a well put-together art book. Whether they’re used for studying, practicing skills or just as a piece of decor to gaze at, art books are a great asset to any home.
Here are seven excellent books perfect for art lovers that came out in 2016:
1. Monet: The Early Years by George T. M. Shackelford
This elegant volume devoted to Claude Monet brings together the best paintings from his early career with essays from distinguished scholars. It’s a comprehensive study of his formative years and how his early style and ambitions drove the rest of his career, focusing on the evolution of his distinctive mode of painting. An exhibit of the same name can also be found at the Fort Worth Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, which features sixty Monet paintings from institutions around the world. The exhibit runs through January 29, 2017.
2. Elliott Erwitt: Home Around the World by Jessica S. McDonald, Stuart Alexander, Steven Hoelscher, and Sean Corcoran
Elliott Erwitt is one of the greatest street photographers of the 20th century. This collection features examples of Erwitt’s early experiments in California, his intimate family portraits in New York, his magazine work, and his ongoing investigations of public spaces and their inhabitants. It also features interviews with Erwitt and essays by photography experts, focusing on his engagement with social and political issues through photojournalism, like his assignments in Cuba, the Soviet Union and the American South during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s. Accompanying this book is a retrospective at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, TX which features over 45,000 of Erwitt’s vintage and modern black-and-white prints. The exhibit is on view through January 1, 2017.
3. Mexico: Photographs by Mark Cohen by Mark Cohen
In keeping with the previous theme, Mexico is a collection of street photographer Mark Cohen’s signature “grab shots,” which are candid shots of strangers often taking from uncomfortably close angles with bright flash directly in people’s faces. The framing is haphazard, the focus is off, and the end results are stunning and evocative. These photos were taken between 1981 and 2003, when he traveled to Mexico eight times and amassed his portfolio of black-and-white photographs.
4. Degas: A New Vision by Henri Loyrette
Degas: A New Vision is more not your average art book, it’s actually a catalog to accompany a breathtaking exhibit that is currently taking place at the Museum of Fine Art Arts, Houston (MFAH). The MFAH is the only U.S. venue for this exhibition, which showcases the celebrated French artist’s paintings, drawings, photography, printmaking, and sculpture from the beginning to the end of his career. This is the first time since 1988 that Degas’s career has been this fully assessed, and record-setting crowds have visited the exhibit since it opened in October. The exhibition runs through January 16, 2017.
5. Rocky Schenck: The Recurring Dream by Rocky Schenck
Rocky Schenck is known best for his black-and-white dreamscapes, but The Recurring Dream also introduces color images that Schenck creates by hand-tinting black-and-white prints with color oil paint. Schenck’s photographs are emotionally evocative and appear painterly, inviting viewers to enter into an otherworldly realm. His striking art explores psychological, metaphysical, and pictorial worlds. This book also features a foreword by film director William Friedkin, who has used Schenck’s photographs as sets for his operas.
6. Antebellum by Gilles Mora
French photographer and photographic scholar Gilles Mora left France in 1972 to teach the French language in public schools in Louisiana. While there, his fascination with the “Deep South” grew, which lead to a years-long project to capture the region and its culture. He did this by taking black-and-white photographs that created an impressionistic portrait of the South. His works were influenced by artists Walker Evans, Ben Shahn, Eudora Welty, and Clarence John Laughlin; he also played music with some of the major figures of the rockabilly scene, including Carl Perkins. Rarely exhibited or published, the images in Antebellum present a photographic recording of Mora’s personal mythologies.
7. Picasso: The Line by Carmen Giménez
We couldn’t have a list of great new art books without including one spotlighting Pablo Picasso. This beautiful new collection focuses on Picasso’s use of line art, which was a defining element of his radical art style. This book brings together eighty drawings spanning three important phases of Picasso’s career and is a companion to an exhibit at the Menil in Houston, TX that is running through January 8, 2017.
What were your favorite art books published in 2016?
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