Tis the season! Art books for everyone on your list.

by leslierankowfinearts

SONIA DELAUNAY 2015 Retrospective Tate Museum, London

SONIA DELAUNAY
2015 Retrospective
Tate Museum, London

AS WE BOLT THROUGH THE DAYS, PARTICULARLY AT THIS TIME OF YEAR, GARNERING NEWS, INFORMATION AND UPDATES FROM OUR PHONES AND LAPTOPS, IT IS A RARE DELIGHT TO SIT AND LEAF THROUGH A BEAUTIFULLY BOUND AND RICHLY ILLUSTRATED ART BOOK ENJOYING THE IMAGES OF THE WORKS AND ABSORBING THE BIOGRAPHICAL AND AESTHETIC SUBSTANCE OF AN ARTIST’S LIFE. IRONICALLY, JUST AS I AM PLANNING TO POST DOUG FLAMM OF URSUS BOOKS’ EXCEPTIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS FOR HOLIDAY GIFT-GIVING, I HAD THAT EXPERIENCE AND INTEND TO REPLICATE IT BACK HERE AT HOME. JUST YESTERDAY, I WAS SITTING IN A CLIENT’S NEW APARTMENT INSTALLING SOME FIRST-TIER ART FROM THEIR COLLECTION INTO THEIR NEW FLORIDA RESIDENCE. THE ART HANDLER TEAM AND I WERE WAITING FOR THEIR ARRIVAL TO SEE WHAT WE HAD ACCOMPLISHED AND I HAD THE UNEXPECTED GUILTY PLEASURE OF QUIETLY SITTING IN THEIR LIVING ROOM LOOKING THROUGH MONOGRAPHS ON ARTISTS IN THEIR COLLECTION.

THIS IS THE SEASON TO SHARE HOLIDAY SPIRIT AND JOY – AND THE WONDERFUL SENSE OF ENRICHMENT THAT BEAUTIFUL BOOKS AND ART CAN PROVIDE.

logo

NO ONE IS AS DEVOTED AND KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT THE WORLD OF BOOKS AS DOUG FLAMM AT URSUS BOOKS, 699 MADISON AVENUE (62nd STREET) IN NEW YORK. ESTABLISHED IN 1972, URSUS PROVIDES AN EXCEPTIONAL SELECTION OF ART REFERENCE BOOKS AS WELL AS RARE BOOKS IN ALL FIELDS AND SERVES CLIENTS IN NEW YORK AND THROUGHOUT THE WORLD OFFERING BOTH NEW AND OUT-OF-PRINT BOOKS INCLUDING CATALOGUE RAISONNES, MONOGRAPHS AND MUSEUM EXHIBITION CATALOGUES. http://www.ursusbooks.com/

HERE ARE A FEW RECOMMENDATIONS FROM DOUG OF CATALOGUES PUBLISHED IN CONJUNCTION WITH RECENT EXHIBITIONS AND EVENTS.

Propeller (Air Pavilion), 1937. Skissernas Museum, Lund, Sweden. © Pracusa 2014083. Photo: Emma Krantz

Propeller (Air Pavilion), 1937. Skissernas Museum, Lund, Sweden. © Pracusa 2014083. Photo: Emma Krantz

SONIA DELAUNAY AT THE TATE MODERN IN LONDON: A recent retrospective of Sonia Delaunay, a passionate woman and avant-garde artist who transcended languages, styles, disciplines and borders.

1. Montfort, Anne. SONIA DELAUNAY. 288 pages, including 250 color and b&w plates. wraps. London, Tate Publishing, 2015. (#160780) $49.95

To celebrate the genius of this Ukrainian artist, London’s Tate Modern has organized a retrospective exhibition on view until August 9, 2015, focusing on her prolific production during more than six decades. Born Sara Elievna Stern, in Odessa, Ukraine, at an early age she was sent to St. Petersburg, Russia, to live with her maternal uncle. Under harsh economic distress, her parents couldn’t provide the girl with a proper upbringing at home. She received an excellent education under the tutelage of her adoptive family, and her uncle instilled in her the passion for the visual arts. Over time, the girl—who adopted her mother´s maiden name to become Sonia Terk—would consider herself a Russian artist. In 1906, she settled in Paris, where she joined the intellectual, artistic circles, fraternizing with the likes of Braque, Picasso, Derain, and Vlaminck. Her paintings from that time show an apparent preference for the German expressionists and painters like Van Gogh and Gauguin. 

L) Electric Prisms, 1914. Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris (RMN). © Pracusa 2014083 (R) Simultaneous Dresses (The three women), 1925. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. © Pracusa 2014083.

L) Electric Prisms, 1914. Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris (RMN). © Pracusa 2014083
(R) Simultaneous Dresses (The three women), 1925. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. © Pracusa 2014083.

In 1910, Sonia divorced her first husband to marry Delaunay. Together they created one of the most influential abstract art movements of the early 20th century, called Simultanism. The movement, driven by the couple, claimed color was the expressive paradigm that stops the communicative limitations of the form in favor of contrasting and complementary chromatic expressions. The simultaneous coexistence of sensations created by colors was the fundamental precept of the Delaunays particular styles, which later influenced the poetics of Orphism.

Sonia Delaunay and two friends in Robert Delaunay’s studio, rue des Grands-Augustins, Paris 1924. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.

Sonia Delaunay and two friends in Robert Delaunay’s studio, rue des Grands-Augustins, Paris 1924. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.

The artist developed her vision—over decades—not only in painting, but also in fashion and custom design, interior and set decoration, magazines covers, and pictorial representations of abstract poems by Blaise Cendrars, among other authors. Between 1915 and 1930, the couple lived in Spain, Portugal, and France. In these countries, Sonia opened shops and ateliers such as Casa Sonia in Madrid (1918), and her boutique at Paris’ Boulevard Malesherbes. Her artistic establishments received great enthusiasm and praise from the aristocracy of Europe’s major capitals. 

WILLIAM KENTRIDGE

William Kentridge The Lulu Plays

William Kentridge
The Lulu Plays

William Kentridge was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1955. He attended the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (1973–76), Johannesburg Art Foundation (1976–78), and studied mime and theater at L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq, Paris (1981–82). Having witnessed first-hand one of the twentieth century’s most contentious struggles—the dissolution of apartheid—Kentridge brings the ambiguity and subtlety of personal experience to public subjects that are most often framed in narrowly defined terms. Using film, drawing, sculpture, animation, and performance, he transmutes sobering political events into powerful poetic allegories. In a now-signature technique, Kentridge photographs his charcoal drawings and paper collages over time, recording scenes as they evolve. Working without a script or storyboard, he plots out each animated film, preserving every addition and erasure. Aware of myriad ways in which we construct the world by looking, Kentridge uses stereoscopic viewers and creates optical illusions with anamorphic projection, to extend his drawings-in-time into three dimensions.

William Kentridge The Lulu Plays

William Kentridge
The Lulu Plays

Kentridge has had major exhibitions at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2009); Philadelphia Museum of Art (2008); Moderna Museet, Stockholm, (2007); and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2004); among others. He has also participated in Prospect.1 New Orleans (2008); the Sydney Biennale (1996, 2008); and Documenta (1997, 2002). His opera and theater works, often produced in collaboration with Handspring Puppet Company, have appeared at Brooklyn Academy of Music (2007); Standard Bank National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa (1992, 1996, 1998); and Festival d’Avignon, France (1995, 1996). His production of Dmitri Shostakovich’s opera, The Nose, premiered in 2010 at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, in conjunction with a retrospective organized by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Metropolitan Opera's LULU

Metropolitan Opera’s LULU

IN NOVEMBER 2015, THE METROPOLITAN OPERA PREMIERED KENTRIDGE’S PRODUCTION OF ALBAN BERG’S OPERA LULU, “A STORY FILLED WITH PSYCHOSEXUAL POLITICS OF GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM”. http://www.wsj.com/articles/lulu-review-william-kentridge-draws-death-and-despair-1447107798

When William Kentridge made his Metropolitan Opera debut with Shostakovich’s “The Nose” in 2010, the piece proved a perfect fit for the South African visual artist’s signature style. That brilliant production was a playful kaleidoscope of film, animated drawings and live action, its tone and spirit celebrating the joyful anarchy of both the wayward body part of the title and the score. Alban Berg’s coruscating 12-tone opera “Lulu,” which opened on Thursday, is a different kind of work, but Mr. Kentridge’s endlessly fertile imagination proved its equal as well, exploring its violent darkness and relentless descent into hell.

William Kentridge The Lulu Plays

William Kentridge
The Lulu Plays

KENTRIDGE, William. The Lulu Plays, by Frank Wedekind. 197 pp. Illustrated with 67 full-page reproductions of drawings by William Kentridge. Folio, bound in publisher’s cloth in matching slipcase, both designed by Kentridge. San Francisco: Arion Press,2015.


$2000.00An exciting new publication from the Arion Press featuring the work of one of today’s most sought-after artists. The text consists of the two plays which are the basis for the libretto of Alban Berg’s Lulu. The Metropolitan Opera will be presenting Kentridge’s production of Lulu which premiers on November 5th. Kentridge worked on the illustrations for the book between 2011 and 2015 and they were made to be used in the Met production by being projected onto the set. As is typical of much of Kentridge’s work there is a strong cinematic influence. Andrew Hoyem has accompanied Kentridge’s illustrations with bold typography in black and red, creating a strikingly modern book while at the same time rendering homage to the works of a century earlier. As new. One of an edition of 400 copies signed by the artist.

William Kentridge The Lulu Plays

William Kentridge
The Lulu Plays

URSUS BOOKS IS HAPPY TO SEARCH FOR BOOKS NOT CURRENTLY IN STOCK AND CREATES CUSTOMIZED LISTS FOR CLIENTS WHO ARE EXPANDING OR BUILDING THEIR COLLECTIONS. DOUG IS A DILIGENT DETECTIVE AND THE RESULTS ARE ALWAYS SPECTACULAR!

MORE RECOMMENDATIONS NEXT POST…THANKS FOR READING.