My Top Nine Art Books…


I don’t normally write posts like this but I thought I would give an insight into the books I peruse most often while working. In my opinion, they are books that everyone should have in their collection.

1) —The Art Book – Phaidon— (Buy Here)

This book is a fantastic reference to have. It contains 500 photographs of different artist’s work… from sculpture to photography a wide range is covered. The time periods range from medieval to the modern day so this is a great book for those who are interested in art, but don’t want to have to buy books on lots of different artists. Along with the photograph of the artwork it also contains information on the artist and the individual work.

2) —The Story of Art – E.H Gombrich— (Buy Here)

I first borrowed this book from my local library when I was twelve. It was enthralling when I read it then, and it still is today. It contains a complete comprehensive history of art from ancient America to the present day. The writing is accompanied with picture plates and it is a must-read for anyone interested in art history.

3) —Dali’s Mustache – Salvador Dali & Philippe Halsman — (Buy Here)

Salvador Dali is one of my all-time favourite artists. This photographic interview is full of one line question and answer quotes, and is possibly the most marvellous book I have ever owned. For example – “Salvador, are you crazy?”… ” I am certainly saner than the person who bought this book.” The photographs are on beautiful quality glossy paper and the layout of the book really serves them justice.

4) — Strangeland – Tracey Emin — (Buy Here)

A few years back I wasn’t particularly a massive fan of Tracey Emin… and then I read this book. The autobiographical chapters are brutally honest, and made one of the most compelling books I have read. I literally couldn’t put it down and finished it within a day. It gives a much larger insight to an artist’s work when you are able to hear from their own perspective, instead of being tainted by the media.

5)  —Why Your Five Year Old Could Not Have Done That – Susie Hodge— (Buy Here)

I originally bought this book on a whim because of the humorous title. While it does not give the most comprehensive explanations about modern art, it does give examples of works by artist’s that are often overlooked in these type of books. The photographs are nicely printed and I keep it for more of a reference book than an informative guide.

6) —Lucian Freud: Painting People – David Hockney & Martin Gayford— (Buy Here)

This book is mainly highly detailed photographs of Freud’s work involving people, but does include a chronological description of his life. I love flicking through this book and looking and the portraits – the photographs give a real sense of the texture of the paint. Even just writing about them makes me want to go and get my oil paints out. If nothing, this book is motivation.

7) —Damien Hirst – Ann Gallagher— (Buy Here)

Mainly printed photographs of the Hirst’s work, but very nice quality with multiple fold-out articles which give an idea of the scale and detail.

8) —500 Portraits: BP Portrait Award – Sandy Nairne— (Buy Here)

Portraits fascinate me, and this book does a fantastic job of showing emerging artist’s wide range of styles when painting. Possible one of the most important art awards in Britain, this book brings together several year’s worth of  paintings in one reference book, with high quality colour.

9) —Banksy: Wall and Piece – Banksy— (Buy Here)

I love Banksy. This book, written by him, gives an insight into his views and practises. All photographs are high quality and includes my favourite piece ‘Naked Man Hanging from Window’ which I was lucky enough to see in Bristol before it was vandalised in 2009.



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