Here Are The Best Art Books Of 2014

We’re counting down the last days of December 2014, and — in typical fashion — we’re reviewing a year’s worth of art in the process. In celebration of 365 more days of performance, architecture, painting, photography, street art and more, we’ve compiled a list of the 30 art-related publications worth your time. Whether you want to cast a reading list for 2015 already, or you’re looking to buy the perfect present for your art loving, bookworm buddy, these art books span the wonders of the creative world.

Behold, the 30 books you should read, buy, and gift before the year is over:

1. The Brilliant History of Color in Art by Victoria Finlay


Perfect for: Anyone who obsesses over pigments in their daily life, or a pal who likes trivia. (Did you know that one of the keys to translating “madder red” into pigment was adding stale ox blood or cow manure to steeping threads?) Read more here

2. 100 Painters of Tomorrow by Kurt Beers


Perfect for: Contemporary art lovers and anyone who fancies innovative painters pushing two-dimensions and pigment to the limit. Read more here

3. Banksy in New York by Ray Mock

Perfect for: The New Yorker who obsessively tracked Banksy movements last year. Read more here

4. Leonardo’s Brain by Leonard Schlain

leonardos brain

Perfect for: A Leonardo da Vinci disciple or any reader enchanted by the intersection of art and science. Read more here

5. The Art of Pin-Up by Dian Hanson, Sarahjane Blum, Louis Meisel


Perfect for: Your feminist, body positive pal who enjoys a historical romp through female sexuality. Read more here

6. American Grotesque edited by Larry Lytle and Michael Moynihan


Perfect for: A photography lover with a slightly macabre taste. If you know the William Mortensen — the subject of this book — you know he was a master of pictorialism, mixing horror and beauty with early 20th century manipulative techniques. Read more here

7. Kurt Vonnegut Drawings by


Perfect for: Literature fiends who are intrigued by Vonnegut’s other art — sketching. Read more here

8. Plush by Marilyn Minter


Perfect for: Your badass aunt or roommate who proudly doesn’t shave her armpits, duh. Read more here

9. Sketch! The Non-Artist’s Guide to Inspiration, Technique, and Drawing Daily Life by France Belleville-Van Stone


Perfect for: Someone with creative block, who needs a good New Year’s resolution. Read more here

10. Ángel Gitano: The Men of Flamenco by Ruven Afanador


Perfect for: A dance enthusiast who would appreciate this lovely, largely monochromatic tome dedicated to the men of flamenco. Read more here

11. Nicholas Nixon: Forty Years of The Brown Sisters by Nicholas Nixon


Perfect for: Your sister, your mother, your girlfriend who’s basically your sister. This is a beautiful photography book that features portraits of four women who gathered together every year for 40 years to take a photo. It will bring a tear to your eye. Read more here

12. Draw Paint Print Like Great Artists by Marion Deuchars


Perfect for: Budding artists and quirky art historical nuts. Read more here

13. A Separate Cinema: The First 100 Years of Black Poster Art by John Duke Kisch


Perfect for: Cinephiles and alternative history buffs. Read more here

14. The Oldest Living Things In The World by Rachel Sussman


Perfect for: An individual who both loves to ogle plant life and finds planetary history particularly captivating. Read more here

15. Mapping It Out by Hans Ulrich Obrist


Perfect for: A highbrow best friend who enjoys debating the politics of space, who else? Read more here

16. Pen & Ink by Wendy McNaughton


Perfect for: The brother, coworker or grandmother who brandishes some serious tattoo art. Read more here

17. 33 Artists in 3 Acts by Sarah Thornton


Perfect for: Any gallerist, curator or artist who understands the inner workings of the art world. Read more here

18. Typographic Universe by Steven Heller and Gail Anderson


Perfect for: Design geeks and anyone who worships at the throne of typography in its natural environment. Read more here

19. Cosmigraphics by Michael Benson


Perfect for: The visual nerd who often contemplates the image of our universe. Read more here

20. Animal Kingdom by Millie Marotta


Perfect for: The arts lover who just wants to color. Don’t we all? Read more here

21. Creative Block by Danielle Krysa

creative block

Perfect for: The artist who needs a pick-me-up, and an aesthetically beautiful one at that. Read more here

22. Art & Ecology Now by Andrew Brown


Perfect for: Your old art school comrade who cares, sincerely, about eco-awareness in art. Read more here

23. The Naked Nude by Frances Borzello


Perfect for: Any nudist. Or how about as a romantic gesture for your significant other?Read more here

24. We Are FriendsWithYou by FriendsWithYou

cloud city

Perfect for: That one brother-in-law or colleague who fawns over social media. But really, anyone with a sense of humor and that special zest for life! would enjoy this fun art book. Read more here

25. The Andy Warhol Diaries by Pat Hackett.


Perfect for: The pop art follower who’s constantly amazed by the mind of Andy Warhol. Read more here

26. The World Atlas Of Street Photography by Jackie Higgins


Perfect for: Photographers with wanderlust. Read more here

27. Vincent Van Gogh: The Essential Letters edited by Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker

van gogh

Perfect for: The art historian who wonders whether Vincent van Gogh really cut off his own ear. Read more here

28. Outdoor Gallery by Yoav Litvin

Perfect for: Street art enthusiasts who want to learn about 46 of the leading figures in NYC’s graffiti and street art scene. Read more here

29. Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe

yumi sakujawa
Perfect for: The comic collector or graphic novel reader in your life. Read more here

30. Pretty Vacant: The Graphic Language of Punk by Kaytie Johnson


Perfect for: The friend who still collects safety pins, styles her hair into a mohawk and dons combat boots everyday. Read more here

BONUS: Salvador Dali’s Les Diners de Gala We recently discovered this 1970s masterpiece. It’s an erotic cookbook. And it’s magnificent.


For the best art books of 2013, check out our list here.