Books

Book Reviews

Dynamic brushstrokes representing 'nature's own flux': new monograph details how Constable got experimental in his late career

The artist’s final period, marred by personal loss, saw him move away from topographical accuracy to embrace a more synthetic form of picture-making

As Missouri marks its bicentennial, new book explores a millennium of objects from the state

Countering settler narratives, Saint Louis Art Museum exhibition and catalogue examines the artistic contributions and experiences of marginalised groups

Book Club

The Art Newspaper’s Book Club shines a light on art books in their myriad forms and brings you exclusive extracts, interviews, picture galleries and recommendations from leading art world figures. Sign up to our newsletter and follow us on social media using #TANbookclub

An expert's guide to Land Art: five must-read books on art and the environment

Books that make connections between art and the current climate crisis, chosen by the curator and author Ben Tufnell

Booksfeature

Book extract | The highs and lows of art fairs

In this extract from her new book, The Art Fair Story: A Rollercoaster Ride, Melanie Gerlis examines the trajectory of these art world events, from the post-war European model to the global behemoths of the 21st century

Melanie Gerlis2 days ago
Booksreview

Pablo Picasso: personal and political collide in lively fourth volume of detailed biography

The Minotaur Years relays the artist's strife as he entered his 50s and one of the most turbulent decades of European history

Booksreview

As butterflies decline at alarming rate globally, new book publishing 18th-century drawings is invaluable resource

Iconotypes: a Compendium of Butterflies and Moths, the long-overdue publication of the naturalist William Jones's extensive illustrations, will enable further research

Miss Clara, the Indian rhinoceros, and other fantastic beasts—a rich exhibition catalogue considers the cruel fashion for touring celebrity animals

This analysis, while celebrating the skill of artists and artisans, does not ignore the exploitative practices of previous centuries

Book Clubfeature

Marcel Duchamp monograph released more than 60 years after it first appeared in print

Historic texts by critic Robert Lebel in facsimile edition explore how the conceptual art pioneer adopted his female alter ego and cemented his reputation in America

Book Clubfeature

Highs and lows of humanity reflected in new book that began on Facebook

The Book of Change includes almost 300 works, highlighting environmental challenges but giving glimpses of a better world

Booksreview

Bellini—who do you think you are? New book challenges 'facts' of Italian Renaissance painter's life

Young Bellini is a convincing recontextualisation of archival evidence suggesting artist's birth date and parentage are not as art historians once thought

Van Gogh’s favourite artists: how did they influence his own work?

Steven Naifeh, co-author of the best-selling biography, writes about the painters Vincent admired—and collects their pictures

a blog by Martin Bailey
Booksreview

From the pyramids to Venice: splendid survey of British painters traces the rise of the professional artist-tourist

Beautifully produced book of works by those who travelled abroad in around 1900 offers readers more than the standard views

Booksreview

Visions of life and death: new books reveal the powerful illustrations of two women artists

Meditations on the afterlife are delivered in glorious pictorial representation by Rachel Owen and Agnes Miller Parker

Last photograph of Lucian Freud’s stolen Francis Bacon portrait published for first time

Image taken at Neue Nationalgalerie moments before the 1988 theft features in a new book of the artist’s copper paintings

Booksreview

New Man Ray book brings artist's long-hidden Jewish heritage out of the shadows

A study of Man Ray, best known for his photography but also a self-professed painter, explores his barely acknowledged Jewishness and his relationship with Marcel Duchamp

Booksreview

An exquisite study of the man who documented North America’s wildlife in the 18th century

This exploration of Mark Catesby is a rich and deeply researched account of his journey from amateur naturalist in East Anglia to intrepid observer in the New World

An expert’s guide to Albrecht Dürer: five must-read books on the Renaissance artist

All you ever wanted to know about Dürer, from the Old Master’s own accounts of his achievements and mishaps, to a recent creative take on his travels—selected by the art historian Susan Foister

All glitz and glamour? Hollywood’s new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Plus, the rise of private museums and Renaissance portraits at the Rijksmuseum

Hosted by Ben Luke and Nancy Kenney. With guest speaker Georgina Adam. Produced by Julia Michalska, Aimee Dawson and David Clack. With Henrietta Bentall
Sponsored byChristie's
Booksfeature

Book extract | What makes buyers want to create private museums for their collections?

In this adapted excerpt from her new book, The Rise and Rise of the Private Art Museum, Georgina Adam examines the motivations of collectors who founded their own art spaces

Booksfeature

Book extract | The story behind Van Gogh's portrait of Doctor Gachet's daughter in the Kunstmuseum Basel

In this adapted extract from his new book Van Gogh’s Finale, Martin Bailey examines the portrait of Marguerite Gachet in the Kunstmuseum Basel

Booksreview

First monograph on Rana Begum reveals artist's refined language of Minimalist abstraction

Timely new book explores how Begum's approach to her multifaceted work defies any simple categorisation

Did this mysterious Dutch painter inspire Vermeer?

The story of enigmatic artist Jacobus Vrel will be told in an exhibition scheduled for 2023 and in a book published this month

Should the art world boycott China over its treatment of Uyghur people?

Plus, Van Gogh’s final months and master printer Kenneth Tyler on Helen Frankenthaler

Hosted by Ben Luke. with guest speakers Cristina Ruiz and Martin Bailey. Produced by Julia Michalska, Aimee Dawson, David Clack and Henrietta Bentall
Sponsored byChristie's
Book Clubfeature

In Pictures | Behind the scenes of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work wrapping the Arc de Triomphe

A new book looks at the detailed preparations and 60 years of planning behind the work being unveiled in Paris

Booksreview

Squatters, desert cults and climate protestors: new book surveys the architecture of anarchist settlements

From geodesic domes in South Colorado to the Calais Jungle in Europe, this provocative work studies 60 structures that were built according to values of autonomy, voluntary association, mutual aid and self-organisation

Book Clubinterview

‘Caravaggio was a major-league asshole’: the long tradition of scandal in art

According to Noah Charney’s new book, infamy in the art world—be it contrived drama to drum up publicity or genuine artistic rivalry—is as old as art itself

Book Clubfeature

Extract | How the colours in ancient Pompeian frescoes ‘spoke’ to Mark Rothko

A new book by the art historian Ben Street attempts to demystify how we look at art and argues for reacting instinctively to what we see

An expert’s guide to Titian: five must-read books on the Venetian Old Master

All you ever wanted to know about Titian, from a biography fit for a king to an overlooked lecture essay from 1990—selected by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum curator Nathaniel Silver

Booksblog

Five new books on female artists that you should read now

Jacqueline Riding—The Art Newspaper's new Books commissioning editor—gives us her top tips, from important catalogues on artists like Paula Rego to a series of children's books for young art lovers

Booksreview

Book on Luisa Roldán shines new light on the 17th-century Spanish sculptor—but why does it lead on her marriage, not her masterpieces?

Volume is the debut instalment of a new series, Illuminating Women Artists, responding to the interest in those “who had nearly been lost to history”

Book Clubfeature

Extract | How Mayor Rudy Giuliani went from ‘patting on the back’ to trying to pull the plug on Sensation show

Two decades after one of the most controversial exhibitions of recent times, Arnold Lehman, the former director of the Brooklyn Museum, reveals all in a new book

The best art books for summer—as recommended by curators, directors and dealers

As we enter the final weeks of the season, check out these riveting reads, from “the best novel about painting” to a book with no words at all

Compiled by José da Silva and Gareth Harris
Fairsnews

New York International Antiquarian Book Fair cancels its September edition

Officials cite a surge of Delta variant cases and the ongoing travel bans to the US, which blocked more than half of the event’s exhibitors from attending

Booksreview

Van Dyck's greatest portraits as an opera in four acts

This elegant and suggestively written monograph is the fruit of 70 years’ reflections on the Flemish artist’s portraiture

Book Clubfeature

Extract | A rare pamphlet from a historic Black art exhibition by the Spiral collective

The text accompanied the group's only show and is now one of several texts about Black art brought together in a new book The Soul of Nation Reader

An expert’s guide to Sophie Taeuber-Arp: five must-read books on the Swiss artist

All you ever wanted to know about Taeuber-Arp, from a children’s book full of inspiring projects to a publication exploring the dynamics of artist couples—selected by the Tate curator Natalia Sidlina

Fascinated by the Voynich Manuscript? Here are some other mysterious texts you can decode

If bodice-rippers are too boring for your summer reading, take a crack at these other books that have stumped researchers

The best art books to dive into this summer—as recommended by artists

Whether you are lying on a beach or next to a paddling pool, sit back and let your mind soak up these inspiring reads

Compiled by Gareth Harris and José da Silva
Booksreview

Up close and personal with 600 years of the doges

New book explores the grandest monuments to the leaders of Venice, seductively photographed, and with their life histories

Booksreview

Much more to know than Van Gogh: finally a book in English that surveys 19th-century Dutch art

Volume unveils many overlooked artists and highlights the international reach of painters from the Netherlands

Book Clubfeature

Extract | William Blake’s famous flop of an exhibition and the critic who described him as ‘an unfortunate lunatic’

A new book by John Higgs paints a picture of the mixed reviews that the 18th-century artist received and touches upon the “Holy Grail of his lost works”

Booksreview

Dante’s dazzle: was the ineffable light described in the Divine Comedy the inspiration for Italian Renaissance and Baroque paintings of Heaven?

Art historian Martin Kemp turns his focus onto the Italian author's interest in the failure of sight when confronted with Empyrean splendours

Booksreview

Saints and stories: vast book reveals the history of the Renaissance altarpiece

This in-depth survey suggests that the development of Italian church altarpieces can be understood through the themes of "icon" and "narrative"

Booksreview

Grand mural projects: a vital chapter in British art history

In her book, Lydia Hamlett unpacks the literary, cultural and political significance of “the animated wall”

Booksnews

Bronte childhood portraits at stake as UK museums and libraries race to save literary treasures

Sotheby’s has postponed auction of extraordinary Honresfield Library as a consortium seeks £15 million to buy it

Booksreview

Magnificence of mosques and their contents revealed in book created by 'dream team' of Saudi and Egyptian museums

Exploration of the Islamic building through its decorations and objects fills a gap in the field

An expert’s guide to Nam June Paik: five must-read books on the Korean-American artist

All you ever wanted to know about Paik, from a “deep dive” into a single work to the best biography—selected by the curators Rudolf Frieling and Andrea Nitsche-Krupp

Book Clubfeature

In Pictures | Barkley L. Hendricks unseen photographs gathered in new publication

The US artist’s images are joined by an extract from the book looking at how aspects of his painting and photography overlapped

Book Clubinterview

Q&A | What artists wear and why it matters

A new book by the fashion critic Charlie Porter explores how what artists choose to wear can tell us about the multiple roles of clothing in society

Booksreview

A masterclass in activism: What artists today can learn from ACT UP’s response to the Aids crisis

A new book by Sarah Schulman describes how the radically democratic and fast acting group grabbed the public’s attention and held politicians and institutions accountable

Book Clubfeature

In Pictures | Kara Walker's private archive of works on paper published in new book

The publication is released ahead of an exhibition of the US artist's works at the Kunstmuseum Basel this summer

Book Clubfeature

In Pictures | Gio Ponti’s greatest designs, from chairs to churches

A new book looks at the life and work of the Italian architect and designer, famed for his Pirelli Tower and Superleggera chairs