Recommended Reading List
Art books can be a great source of instruction and inspiration to the practicing artist, and typically, over the course of their career, every artist will amass quite a library. My personal collection, which now approaches 700 books, has been instrumental in educating me about the techniques and histories of the genres I love, and for helping me to visually search among the works of the Masters for solutions to problems of color and composition in my own paintings. Though I treasure all of the tomes in my collection, there are certain books which to me are standouts, and which I recommend often.
The following books are among my favorites, and are luckily often easily found on Amazon.com. Several are still in print and can be purchased for reasonable prices; some are out-of-print and sell for as low as a penny; some are a little more rare and can run upwards of $100 USD.
J. W. WaterhouseBuy On Amazon
The Academy & French PaintingBuy On Amazon
Creative IllustrationBuy On Amazon
Rockwell on RockwellBuy On Amazon
Color and LightBuy On Amazon
Anders ZornBuy On Amazon
The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure DrawingBuy On Amazon
Oil Painting Techniques and MaterialsBuy On Amazon
The Practice of Oil Painting & DrawingBuy On Amazon
The Painter in OilBuy On Amazon
The Glasgow BoysBuy On Amazon
William BouguereauBuy On Amazon
Herbert DraperBuy On Amazon
Overcoming All ObstaclesBuy On Amazon
A Life in the ArtsBuy On Amazon
Art & FearBuy On Amazon
The Judgement of ParisBuy On Amazon
More Recommended Reading
Not all art books get large print runs, and unfortunately some of the best books out there can be quite difficult to find. Books published to coincide with a particular show, or which are self-published, are often made in limited supplies. The following books are either out-of-print, or are best purchased directly from the publisher.
A sticker-shock warning should be issued here, and when possible, price-comparison shopping should be done if you are thinking of adding some of these to your collection. Do not be surprised to see prices in the hundreds and hundreds of dollars for some of these books, though none of these is worth that much to anyone but perhaps the most ardent collector. Certain sites like BookFinder.com will help you find the best prices.
Some titles like Friant and Bastien-Lepage are not available in English; make sure you read the seller’s book descriptions before committing to a purchase of a book you may or may not be able to read. The beautiful pictures inside are, of course, universal.
FriantSearch For Book
Krøyer: An International PerspectiveSearch For Book
William McGregor PaxtonSearch For Book
Bastien-LepageSearch For Book
Tuxen: Colour, Countryside, and CrownSearch For Book
Vlaho Bukovac: A Cosmopolitan CroatianSearch For Book
Alla Prima IIPurchase the Book
Twilight of PaintingPurchase the Book
Living CraftPurchase the Book
Édouard DantanSearch For Book
On the Training of PaintersPurchase the Book
The OrientalistsSearch For Book
The ItinerantsSearch For Book
Jean-Léon GérômeSearch For Book
The following companies and products are those which come with my highest recommendation. I use them all, and on any day, someone walking into my studio will find these items there.