Themed Book Lists

20 Books on Artists Who Have Inspired Designers

Basquiat, Bourgeois, Duchamp, Warhol

July 14, 2015

Here are 20 books on painters, sculptors, and other artists—from Leonardo da Vinci to Andy Warhol—that designers and architects have found inspirational. See the complete list of books on art and artists chosen by designers.

Basquiat Marc Mayer Editor

From the Publisher. Jean-Michel Basquiat was only twenty-seven when he died in 1988, his meteoric and often controversial career having lasted for just eight years. Despite his early death, Basquiat’s powerful œuvre has ensured his continuing reputation as one of modern art’s most distinctive voices. Borrowing from graffiti and street imagery, cartoons, mythology, and religious symbolism, Basquiat’s drawings and paintings explore issues of race and identity, providing social commentary that is shrewdly observed and biting. This book celebrates Basquiat’s achievements in the contexts of the key influences on his art. It not only reevaluates the artist's principal works and their meaning, but also explains what keeps his painting relevant today.

Louise Bourgeois: Aller-Retour Gerald Matt
Peter Weiermair

Catalogue of the exhibition “Louise Bourgeois: Aller-Retour” at Kunsthalle Wien November 25, 2005–February 5, 2006.

Affect/Marcel Francis M. Naumann Editor
Hector Obalk Editor

Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) left a large volume of correspondence—some 1,000 documents—in which he talks of his plans and works, including the “ready-made”—a concept that was radically to change the course of 20th-century art. This book features a selection of 285 of Duchamp’s most telling and important letters transcribed and published for the first time in their original language, together with English translations, as well as a detailed introduction to each correspondent and comments on the historical content of each letter.

The Intimate World of Alexander Calder Daniel Marchesseau

Contains artist Alexander Calder’s (1898–1976) drawings, paintings, decorative objects, jewelry, mobiles, and stabiles, as well as many "unknown" personal and archival photographs.

The World of M. C. Escher M. C. Escher

Five essays about the life and work of artist M. C. Escher, and a survey of his images.

Juan Gris Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler

This was my first, and still favorite, art book—I bought it with all my savings. My favorite Cubist by far. — Daniel Libeskind.

Donald Judd: Complete Writings 1959–1975 Donald Judd

From D.A.P. Originally published in 1975, this collection of Donald Judd's writings is a sought-after classic. His uncompromising reviews avoid the familiar generalizations so often associated with artistic styles emerging during the 1950s and 60s. Here, Judd discusses in detail the work of more than 500 artists showing in New York at that time, and provides a critical account of this significant era in American art. While addressing the social and political ramifications of art production, the writings focus on the work of Jackson Pollock, Kasimir Malevich, Barnett Newman, Ad Reinhardt, John Chamberlain, Larry Poons, Kenneth Noland, and Claes Oldenburg. His 1965 “Specific Objects” essay, discussions of sculptural thought in the 1960s, is included as well as Judd's notorious polemical essay, “Imperialism, Nationalism, Regionalism.”

The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898–1918 Felix Klee

From the Publisher. Paul Klee was endowed with a rich and many-sided personality that was continually spilling over into forms of expression other than his painting and that made him one of the most extraordinary phenomena of modern European art. These abilities have left their record in the four intimate Diaries in which he faithfully recorded the events of his inner and outer life from his nineteenth to his fortieth year. Here, together with recollections of his childhood in Bern, his relations with his family and such friends as Kandinsky, Marc, Macke, and many others, his observations on nature and people, his trips to Italy and Tunisia, and his military service, the reader will find Klee’s crucial experience with literature and music, as well as many of his essential ideas about his own artistic technique and the creative process.

Magritte and Contemporary Art Stephanie Barron

From the Publisher. Magritte's seminal painting The Treachery of Images (This Is Not a Pipe) is a Surrealist and Modernist masterpiece that has become an instantly recognizable pop culture icon. It's also an excellent image with which to begin a serious discussion about the meaning(s) of representation. While many books and exhibitions have undertaken to survey the work of Magritte, and while many have acknowledged his profound impact upon other artists of his generation, none has yet studied the precise connections between Magritte's work and today's top contemporary artists. In The Treachery of Images, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art brings together more than 50 of the most important Magrittes with an equal number of very significant works by contemporary artists, both cool and edgy, including Jasper Johns, Ed Ruscha, Vija Celmins, Joseph Kosuth, Sherrie Levine, Richard Artschwager, Jeff Koons, Martin Kippenberger, Jim Shaw, Raymond Pettibon, Robert Gober and Marcel Broodthaers. Among the distinguished contributors are the internationally renowned art writer Thierry de Duve, co-curator Michel Draguet (director of the Musées Royaux de Bruxelles), critic Pepe Karmel and art historian Dickran Tashjian. Chapters and interviews are devoted to Ruscha, Celmins, Gober, and Artschwager, among others.


Malevich Larisa Zhadova

A study of the Suprematist years of Russian artist Kazimir Malevich (1879–1935) as well as an examination of Suprematism as a movement and the lesser-known artists involved.

Brice Marden: A Retrospective of Paintings and Drawings Gary Garrels

From the Publisher. The first book to take readers through the full course of Marden's work as it has developed over more than 40 years from the early 1960s to the present, showing his gradual, deliberate evolution, along with his constant exploration of light, color and surface at every turn. Marden’s first 20 years of work, characterized by the luminous monochrome panels for which he won his first acclaim, will for the first time appear alongside the celebrated production of the past 20 years, which followed a shift in the mid-1980s to calligraphic gestures in shimmering grounds, and another shift in the past decade to heightened color. Two of Marden's newest paintings appear here for the first time. Gary Garrels interprets Marden's work and places it in historical context. Carol C. Mancusi-Ungaro, of the Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art at Harvard, examines issues of materials, processes and conservation. Richard Shiff, Brenda Richardson and Michael Duffy explore Marden’s early use of a grid and his engagement with time and space in the studio, as well as his observation of the elemental qualities of nature, his representational links to nature, and the distinctive emotional effects of the abstract monochrome works for which he was initially recognized. Marden himself addresses his working methods in an interview, and a comprehensive chronology, exhibition history and bibliography close the book out. Accompanied a 2006 exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Jazz Henri Matisse

From the Publisher. This large-format book reproduces Matisse's masterpiece, presented in its entirety in stunning full-color images. First published in 1947, Henri Matisse’s collection of paper cutouts represented a culmination of the artist’s striving to combine his love of form and color. To create Jazz, Matisse carefully arranged twenty cut-outs as compositions. Like the musical genre they celebrate, the works are at once spontaneous and unified, improvisational yet clearly orchestrated. Serving as a complement to these blasts of color are messages, in Matisse’s own handwriting, of his ideas and inspirations. The resulting book is one of the twentieth century’s most significant works of art. Katrin Wiethege’s introductory essay delves into the artist’s method of creating the cut-outs in his studio as well as the painstaking process of printing the book itself. Exquisitely made to resemble the color, printing technique, and paper of the first hand-crafted edition of the book, this volume features Matisse’s unforgettable images and words in all their original splendor

Object to Be Destroyed: The Work of Gordon Matta-Clark Pamela M. Lee

From the Publisher. Although highly regarded during his short life—and honored by artists and architects today—the American artist Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-78) has been largely ignored within the history of art. Matta-Clark is best remembered for site-specific projects known as "building cuts." Sculptural transformations of architecture produced through direct cuts into buildings scheduled for demolition, these works now exist only as sculptural fragments, photographs, and film and video documentations. Matta-Clark is also remembered as a catalytic force in the creation of SoHo in the early 1970s. Through loft activities, site projects at the exhibition space 112 Greene Street, and his work at the restaurant Food, he participated in the production of a new social and artistic space.

Have art historians written so little about Matta-Clark's work because of its ephemerality, or, as Pamela M. Lee argues, because of its historiographic, political, and social dimensions? What did the activity of carving up a building-in anticipation of its destruction—suggest about the conditions of art making, architecture, and urbanism in the 1970s? What was one to make of the paradox attendant on its making—that the production of the object was contingent upon its ruination? How do these projects address the very writing of history, a history that imagines itself building toward an ideal work in the service of progress?

In this first critical account of Matta-Clark's work, Lee considers it in the context of the art of the 1970s—particularly site-specific, conceptual, and minimalist practices—and its confrontation with issues of community, property, the alienation of urban space, the "right to the city," and the ideologies of progress that have defined modern building programs.

Giorgio Morandi: A Retrospective Maria Cristina Bandera Viani Editor

From the Publisher. Devotional and tranquil, the art of Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964) celebrates the virtues of patience, serenity and modesty. Many of Morandi's still lifes, landscapes and flowers are based on earlier compositions that he continually revisited, often across media (painting, watercolor, etching). This handsome overview beautifully elucidates the artist's humble repertoire of themes, showing (when possible) where they originated, and how they were reprised across the course of his career. The careful selection of works, derived from some of Europe's most prestigious institutions, museums and private collections and including some rarely or never-before seen works, are augmented by Jean-Michel Folon's little-seen series of photographs from Morandi's studio taken in 1977; texts by legendary poet Yves Bonnefoy, Joost Zwagerman and Francesco Galluzzi; and a section on Morandi's influence. The artist's heroic questing for purity have won him many fans: in film, Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Robert Aldrich and Luca Guadagnino; in literature, Paul Auster, Don DeLillo and Siri Hustvedt; and in contemporary art, Lawrence Carroll, Tacita Dean and Luc Tuymans. Works by all of these Morandi admirers are included here. The book is edited by Morandi specialist Maria Cristina Bandera, head of the Fondazione Roberto Longhi in Florence.

A Life of Picasso (3 vols.) John Richardson

Three-volume biography of artist Pablo Picasso.

vol 1. 1881-1906
vol. 2. 1907-1917
vol. 3. 1917-1932: The Triumphant Years

Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills Cindy Sherman

Cndy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills, a series of 69 black-and-white photographs created between 1977 and 1980, is widely seen as one of the most original and influential achievements in recent art.

The Fabulous Life of Diego Rivera Bertram D. Wolfe

Traces the life of the influential Mexican painter, describes his relationships with the great European artists, and discusses his major works.

Kurt Schwitters: Color and Collage Isabel Schulz Editor

From the Publisher. Best known for his extraordinary abstract collages, German artist Kurt Schwitters (1887–1948) is one of the most influential figures of the international avant-garde. Emphasizing the significance of color and light in the artist’s work and delving into the relationship between collage and painting, this handsome volume accompanies the first U.S. retrospective of the artist’s oeuvre in 25 years.

James Turrell: A Retrospective Michael Govan
Christine Y. Kim et al.

From the Publisher. Published in conjunction with a major retrospective, this comprehensive volume illuminates the origins and motivations of James Turrell’s incredibly diverse and exciting body of work—from his Mendota studio days to his monumental work-in-progress Roden Crater.

Whether he’s projecting shapes on a flat wall or into the corner of a gallery space, James Turrell is perpetually asking us to “go inside and greet the light”—evoking his Quaker upbringing. In fact, all of Turrell’s work has been influenced by his life experiences with aviation, science, and psychology, and as a key player in Los Angeles’ exploding art scene of the 1960's. Enhanced by thoughtful essays and an illuminating interview with the artist, this monograph explores every aspect of Turrell’s career to date—from his early geometric light projections, prints, and drawings, through his installations exploring sensory deprivation and seemingly unmodulated fields of colored light, to recent two-dimensional experiments with holograms. It also features an in-depth look at Roden Crater, a site-specific intervention into the landscape near Flagstaff, Arizona, which will be presented through models, plans, photographs, and drawings. Fans of this highly influential artist will find much to savor in this wide-ranging and beautiful book, featuring specially commissioned new photography by Florian Holzherr.

The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (from A to B and Back Again) Andy Warhol

Warhol offers his observations of love, beauty, fame, work, and art and discusses the continuous play and display of his many fetishes.

comments powered by Disqus