Monday, October 28, 2013

For the Love of Books

The shelves over at Surface Fragments.
Hey readers, I sent out a request on my Facebook page for people to send me photos of their shelves and guess what: it appears we have some avid book collectors out there. Here is a glimpse at the shelves of some of them. I've tried to link to each of the titles, but I couldn't possibly link to them all, as I do occasionally have other stuff to do. 

Inevitably of course, there are a lot of Amazon links. Do make sure to support your local bookstore, however. A lot of these titles can be found there. I've picked up many of the titles on display here by visiting second-hand bookstores wherever I go. My favorite site for buying books is Go there first, plug in the title, and browse from second-hand sellers across the country. Often, I've grabbed titles for as little as $0.01 and simply had to pay for shipping. Happy browsing, people!

[By the way, I did an entire post on artist and author Pierre Finkelstein's bookshelves, which can be found here.]

Situated in the heart of the ancient city of Florence, is a studio school specializing in the finest artisan creations and teaching students traditional Italian decorative arts. The shelves are predictably bursting with mouth-watering Italian titles.

Top shelf:
Abruzzo, pub. Gruppomontepaschi
Bottom shelf:
Fasto di Corte (mural decorations of the Medici residence)
Mille Mobili Veneti (Venetian furniture from XV - XIX Century)

Sharon Leichsenring
Sharon Leichsenring has got some real classics of the decorative arts on her shelves, each one of them a great reference for the working decorative artist. 

Theresa Cheek
Theresa Cheek, of art's the answer blog, has a massive collection of books and as you can tell from this small photo, she actually uses them!

Demeures Peintes, by Pascal Amblard (Pascal's shelves appear below)
Décors Peints et Trompe-l'oeil, by Jean Sablé (a great book by a master of the craft)
Santa Maria Novella (Home of Massaccio's Trinity among other spectacular murals)
Steve Shriver
Anyone who doesn't know the awesome Steve Shriver (aka art + works) should do themselves a favor and like his Facebook page, and don't forget to dig through all his Flickr sets too. His generosity with knowledge is inspirational, and he's the source of many fantastic reference photos. Not surprisingly, he's got more than a few good reads on his shelves.

In Stabiano, Exploring the Ancient Seaside Villas of the Roman Elite 
Art and Illusion, the classic tome by Ernst Gombrich
The Sense of Order, E. H. Gombrich, another fascinating read by Gombrich.

Fred Cox
Fred Cox is a great mural artist, blog reader and an avid book collector based in Atlanta. His collection of large format antique decorative folios is stellar, but you won't find them on Amazon. Here is a glimpse of some of his more terrestrial titles that you will find interesting.

Drawings of the Masters, French Drawings (15th C. through Gericault)

Fred Cox
Fred Cox
Pascal Amblard
Pascal Amblard is a world-renowned artist, teacher and author. Basically, he's really really good, and you should know his work. What inspires an artist like Pascal? An eclectic mix for sure...

Fragonard, one of Pascal's favorite artists, makes an immediate appearance.
Followed by the irrepressible Veronese, Henry Francis du Pont's Winterthur Museuem.
and Betty Edwards' perennial favorite, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
Pierre Finkelstein wrote pretty much the best book out there on decorative painting; The Art of Faux. It's on everybody's shelves, or at least it should be.
I don't have this one, but the Amazon description makes me very curious: The Fabric of Vision by Anne Hollander. 
Splash 2: Watercolor Breakthroughs (Wolf): The Splash series focuses on artists working in watercolor, highlighting their technique. Pascal's use of casein can be seen to have technical parallels in gouache and watercolor, so it's no surprise that he'd be curious about this material. 
Pascal Amblard
Espace d'Art - Arts d'Espace
Les Enduits Decoratifs
Stolar, Tabureiter & Fatoljer [I've linked to the English Ed. of thiis fantastic book by Lars & Ursula Sjoberg]
Classical Painting Atelier, Aristides {get this, and her other books - indispensible]
Chateaux de Famille
Anders Zorn
The Library of Congress, Art & Architecture of the Thomas Jefferson Building
Roomscapes {Hopefully you picked up a copy of this when it was cheap]
Garden Ornament [Great black and white reference photos for murals]
Du Maroc Aux Indes [I linked to books on Orientalist painting, as the French edition is $$$$]
The Most Beautiful Villages of Tuscany
Les Plus Belles Demeures d'Italie
Roma/ Villa Medici, pub. FMR
Alberto Pinto, Classics
Images de Venice
Classical Architecture, pub. Porphyrios
La Grande Decorazione a Genova
Jean-Loup Daraux
Charles Bargue

Pascal Amblard

Noel Donnellan
Decorative artist Noel Donnellan sent some fantastic shots of his collection. Here are just a couple with links to titles that caught my eye.

Noel Donnellan
Hugh Alan Luck
Thanks, Hugh, for the lovely clear shot of some excellent titles, including the newly released Rufus Porter Murals. Folks, you're just going to have to dig for yourselves for these. I have to go back to work. There's enough here for any book lover to have palpitations running up the credit card bill. 

A huge thank you to everyone who sent in photos. I feel as though I've left a couple of people out, including Lynne Rutter of The Ornamentalist blog. But Lynne, in true bibliophile mode, has compiled all her titles on Library Thing for easy browsing. Be sure to check it out.

Mark Ruffner, of "All Things Ruffnerian" blog

Jeff Huckaby

Jeff Huckaby


  1. A very valuable post Alan! There is always room for another book in my house.

  2. Stick a fork in me now, cause I might never return from this post!

    1. Hey readers, I sent out a request on my Facebook page for people to send me photos of their shelves and guess what: it appears we have some avid book collectors out there. Here is a glimpse at the shelves of some of them.

      CJC 1295 with DAC

  3. Alan, thanks for a valuable posting. Not only do I get the satisfaction of feeling like a voyer, but now I have a wish list of more art books! (Like you, I always check out used books — I recently found a gorgeous book on the Farnese Gallery, for a mere $8.

  4. What a treasure trove of information! Here's one book that's very blurred in the first photo but invaluable in my specific area of interest and that I believe is overlooked :Italian architectural and Lime wall decoration, check-out "Dipinti Murali e pittura ad Ago"
    Thanks for the article!

  5. Ho w nice to see my fellow enthusiasts book troves! I am horribly behind in my Library Thing catalog. I need to get one of those cue cats scanners to keep up! But I did take a lot of pictures or my various book piles. Maybe I will post them.