Books

Book Reviews

Stolen by the Nazis and a talking point in Cold War Poland: the strange journey of Leonardo da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine

Eden Collinsworth tells a breathless, flowery tale of the celebrated Cecilia Gallerani portrait

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

Who is Octavia Butler and why is the art world obsessed with her writing?

The late author’s sci-fi stories have inspired artists such as Alberta Whittle, Candice Breitz, Toyin Ojih Odutola and Precious Okoyomon

Ultimate reading lists

How partition divided a centuries-old manuscript between India and Pakistan—and continues to plague the region's heritage

Research on the Chandayan of Mulla Da’ud has suffered ever since 24 folios narrating the love story were split up across the border in 1947

The best art books for summer 2022—as recommended by artists, curators, museum directors and dealers

From artist biographies and essay collections to a dystopian novel, surf culture and a rock’n’roll autobiography

Compiled by José da Silva and Gareth Harris
Booksinterview

Brendan Fernandes on the afterlives of dance performances that breathe new meanings into sculptures

The artist’s new book—the seventh in his career—chronicles his recent dance and sculpture-based projects at the Noguchi Museum, the Graham Foundation and the Whitney

Booksreview

Tales of tragedy and heroism: book of photographs bring England’s shipwrecks to vivid life

Volume comprises superb black-and-white images of 68 shipwrecks off the notoriously treacherous south-west coast, beginning in 1871

Book Clubfeature

The sensory language of paint, from Matisse banishing blue to Rococo’s love affair with pink

In her new book, Chloë Ashby explores the power of colour in art. Here, she takes us on a whirlwind tour and recommends four other fascinating new books on colour

Booksreview

Adam Dant’s on-the-nose political maps are delightfully vulgar—and merit a ‘Partygate’ update

New book collects the illustrator’s maps that range from UK political sleaze to the renaming of American states using cockney rhyming slang

An expert's guide to Raphael: five must-read books on the Italian Old Master

All you ever wanted to know about Raphael, from a page-turner monograph to a tome of his “irresistible” drawings—selected by the art historian David Ekserdjian

Booksreview

New book reveals how women artists in the 'Age of Revolutions' confound stereotypes

This statistics-driven investigation shows that many of the hundreds of women exhibiting in London and Paris between 1760 and 1830 eschewed the still-life

Booksreview

Rich volume examining knights and their shining armour goes beyond popular romantic notions

Book provides excellent overview of the history of and meaning behind orders, tournaments and armour

Booksreview

At long last, Indian art from the long 20th century gets the forensic treatment in gargantuan publication

Over more than 700 pages, and with a polyphony of contributors, this book charts more than 100 years of subcontinental art, from the 19th century to the present day

'Closer to Vincent': the secrets of everyday objects in Van Gogh’s paintings

A book and exhibition will reveal surprising facts about some of the artist’s best-loved motifs

a blog by Martin Bailey
Booksreview

Pioneering Parisian dealer Berthe Weill, who gave Modigliani his only show, is brought back to life in a new book

The first English translation of Weill’s 1933 memoir reveals a powerhouse of the Modern art world

Booksreview

Extravagant volume of post-war photography presents a snapshot of fast-changing British society

From street scenes to social media, this sweeping survey examines how documentary photography has made sense of the UK’s cultural and political climate

Book Clubinterview

Old Master meets YBAs: James Cahill tells us all about his debut novel

The author explains why his new coming-of-age novel is set against the backdrop of the 1990s art world and what drew him to the paintings of the titular Tiepolo

An expert's guide to Piet Mondrian: four must-read books on the Dutch artist

All you ever wanted to know about Mondrian, from a comprehensive biography to a book about his various studios—selected by the curator Ulf Küster

Booksreview

Career-spanning book on Käthe Kollwitz shines light on German artist's technical brilliance

A well-balanced account shifts the focus away from the tragedies of the artist's biography

Booksreview

The enigma of Philip Guston: two books unpack artist's fascination with dualities

Coinciding with opening of controversially postponed Guston show, these publications are vital to grasping the artist's contribution to post-war American art

Booksreview

Book investigates why so many Irish country houses were subject to devastating arson attacks in the 1920s

While the early part of this publication is dry, once the fires start the narrative heats up

Booksreview

Huguenots and River Thames mudlarking: two books on global displacement remind us of the value in welcoming refugees

A lavish study on the art and culture of French Protestant refugees from the late 17th century, and an in-depth look at the hidden histories of the remarkable objects to be found in London’s River Thames

Booksreview

The garden as autobiography: new book lays bare a history of eccentrics

From a miniature Swiss glacier and raptor-filled aviary to a "pilgrim’s cell" fashioned from the jaws of a whale, how free thinkers expressed their personalities through unique creations

Book Clubfeature

What is the life of a muse like? Not as amusing as you may think

The subjects of great works of art have not always led the romanticised life we imagine, as examples from a new book show

An expert's guide to Louise Bourgeois: five must-read books on the French-American artist

All you ever wanted to know about Bourgeois, from the artist in her own words to an illustrated book for children—selected by the Hayward Gallery’s Ralph Rugoff and Katie Guggenheim

Booksreview

Non-conformers? Encyclopaedic guidebook attempts to redefine Outsider art

Lisa Slominski's book expands the canon of "self-taught" and "folk" artists to include Hilma af Klint and the Mexican Muralists

Booksreview

A new visual history of domestic service spanning 400 years examines the lives of those working within the home

From drawings and paintings by Dürer and Velázquez to lesser known images, book puts servants and slaves centre stage

Booksreview

Book reveals the perilous life and times of Stalin’s most celebrated architect

Boris Iofan, a Jewish architect born in Odesa—whose buildings included the Communist behemoth the “House on the Embankment”—built what the dictator demanded, creating architecture as an instrument of power

Booksreview

New memoir relays a traumatic family history through an intense obsession with a Géricault masterpiece

Book tells a tangled personal narrative through the Louvre's 1819 painting Raft of Medusa