Summer books of 2018: Art and photography
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Kay Nielsen: 1001 Nights, edited by Noel Daniel, Taschen, RRP£250
Art Nouveau meets oriental fantasy meets Disney. This stunning collector’s item unfolds like Scheherazade’s tales: a blue velvet box opens on to a giant crimson envelope with watercolour prints and a black-gold volume of stories set in Byzantine palaces beneath starlit skies. Nielsen, Danish illustration’s equivalent of Arthur Rackham, worked in Hollywood but died impoverished.
Rome: Portrait of a City, by Giovanni Fanelli, Taschen, RRP£50
Ancient ruins and Baroque splendour, Fellini and Fascism, 1950s Vespas and 21st-century fashion shows at the Trevi Fountain: a magnificently evocative cultural history of the eternal city from 1839 to now seen through the eyes of over 100 photographers, including Capa, Cartier-Bresson, Ferdinando Scianna and Massimo Vitali.
Obsession: Nudes by Klimt, Schiele and Picasso from the Scofield Thayer Collection, by Sabine Rewald and James Dempsey, Metropolitan Museum of Art, RRP£20/$25
Before he was declared insane in 1937, the lavishly wealthy, wildly unstable American publisher Scofield Thayer visited Vienna to be psychoanalysed by Freud and, for a few dollars, acquired erotic drawings by Klimt, Schiele and, later, Picasso. The Met’s elegant, slim fascinating volume, a companion piece to an exhibition, reveals his story and showcases his fabulous collection.
Giotto and His Works in Padua, by John Ruskin, edited by Robert Hewison, David Zwirner Books, RRP£8.95
A highbrow pocket book: Ruskin’s little-known, fiery text on Giotto as founder of modern art is republished with — for the first time — colour illustrations of Padua’s great Scrovegni Chapel, and a lively contemporary introduction, in Zwirner’s delightful “Ekphrasis” series.
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What is the best art and photography book you have read this year? Let us know in the comment field below