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Top 10 Artful Coffee Table Books

Top 10 Artful Coffee Table Books  
A coffee table book has the visual depth of a wall of original paintings, without the price tag! Each volume holds a miniature museum.
  1. Schiaparelli & Prada: Impossible Conversations (Metropolitan Museum of Art) - Although separated by time, Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli—both Italian, both feminists—share striking affinities in terms of their design strategies and fashion manifestoes. It’s a gorgeous survey of fashion as art.
  2. The Life of a Photograph by Sam Abell (National Geographic Books) - Drawing on 40 years of fieldwork, the pages take the reader on assignment and inside the heart of a master photographer to witness the process of making a truly great picture. This exquisite book is organized by the known and unexpected themes of Abell’s work, ranging from his sensitive Portraits, beautiful Land, Sea, Sky and thought-provoking Wild Life to the surprising Just Looking (quirky scenes encountered on assignment). Yours truly was also the photography intern on this gentle piece.
  3. Henri Matisse: Rooms with a View (The Monacelli Press) - Explore in depth, for the first time, the full significance of the window in Matisse’s thinking about interior and exterior space. The colors, the rearranged rooms, the constantly shifting small apartments and even transient living quarters, what does each reinvention of space mean? The answer lies beyond the window.
  4. Fornasetti: Conversation With Philippe Starck (Assouline) - Ever since I first saw the etched face of a woman named Lina Cavalieri dripping in black and white halftones, plastered on the backs of chairs, and resting on pillowcases, I needed to learn more about this obsessive motif. Piero Fornasetti, an Italian sculptor-cum-interiordesigner and renowned Milanese painter, explains the face he found in a 19th century magazine clipping.
  5. Vitamin P2L New Perspectives in Painting (Phaidon) - A dynamic overview of the best new contemporary painting from around the world featuring over 500 images depicting the incredible richness and variety of the medium. Introductionby Barry Schwabsky, London-based writer, Art Critic for The Nation and International Reviews Editor for Artforum.
  6. 28 Chinese (Rubell Family Collection) - The exhibition 28 Chinese at the Rubell Family Collection in Miami, Florida was the culmination of six research trips made between 2001 and 2012. Though it is a personal account, it ultimately encompasses multiple generations of artist working through myriad themes offering a survey of the young Chinese contemporary art world.
  7. Los Alamos by Willian Eggleston (Scalo Publishers) - "I had this notion of what I called a democratic way of looking around, that nothing was more or less important," William Eggleston once said. This radical attitude guided his ground-breaking work in color photography, work that has prefigured many recent developments in art and photography. The photographs in Los Alamos were shot in Eggleston's native Memphis and on countless road trips across the American South from 1964 to 1968 and from 1972 to 1974. It contains a blueprint of Eggleston's aesthetics, his subtle use of subdued color hues, and the casual elegance of his trenchant observations of the mysterious mundane.
  8. Shot by Kern by Richard Kern (Taschen) - Shot By Kern presents some 300 photographs, including several photo series, interviewing the real women who dream of being New York Girls, through styling and shooting. As Richard travels the world he's noticed cultural similarities between his models and themes have emerged, from the universality of prescription drugs, to a love of technology, to lying in bed, and peering up skirts. And because Kern has always been fascinated by what women do behind the bathroom door, there is lots of intimate personal grooming. Perhaps this book is for a coffee table in the bedroom…
  9. James Ensor (The Museum of Modern Art) - This striking and slightly creepy volume, published on the occasion of Ensor's major 2009 exhibition in New York, gives the artist the attention he so greatly deserves. It presents approximately 90 works, organized thematically, examining Ensor's Modernity, his innovative and allegorical approach to light, his prominent use of satire, his deep interest in carnival and performance and, finally, his own self-fashioning and use of masking, travesty and role-playing. The book’s essays tackle such topics as Ensor as the painter of a fantasmagoric modern life or an exploration of one’s relationship, as a painter, within art history.
  10. Mies by Detlef Mertins (Phaidon) - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is one of the twentieth century's most influential architects. His most well-known projects include the Barcelona Pavilion in Spain (1929); the Seagram Building in New York (1954-56); the Farnsworth House (1945-50), 860 and 880 Lakeshore Drive (1945-51) and the IIT Campus (1939-58), all in and around Chicago, and the New National Gallery in Berlin (1962-68). These are only a few of Mies's pavilions, houses, skyscrapers and campuses, which all epitomized a radically new structural and spatial clarity. The purity of his Mies's architecture is almost surprising in light the diversity of his interests. This is the most definitive monograph ever published on the modern master of lines.

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