8 Art Books That Are A Perfect Read for Cozy Winter Mornings

Updated: Feb 18

With winter around the corner, we can’t help but think about snuggling under cozy blankets, sipping hot chocolates, and reading a book in the warm winter sun. On this Book Lovers Day, we present to you our old and new favorites. If you love art and are curious about the lives of the art makers, you can be sure to get hooked on these biographies and autobiographies that are absolutely unputdownable.

1. The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait by Carlos Fuentes

If you have been fascinated about knowing Frida’s life, her tumultuous journey, and how she made art, this is your go-to-book. This beautifully illustrated journal documents the last ten years of this noteworthy Mexican artist. Her turbulent relationship with her husband, her thoughts, dreams, and political sensibilities, all get echoed in this 170-page journal.

To buy this book, click here.

2. Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art by Mary Gabriel (2018)

This book draws its title from the Ninth Street Show of 1951 in New York, which took place in a condemned building's basement at 60 East 9th Street. It is a story of five women who challenged the male-dominated world of twentieth-century abstract painting and created history. It delves into New York’s postwar art world, but from a different perspective. You will enter the world of these women, who worked, drank, loved and opened the door to the world of art not only for themselves but for many more to come.

To buy this book, click here.

3. Rodin’s Lover by Heather Webb

This novel presents an enthralling insight into the power of art and love set against the vibrant backdrop of the Parisian art world. The book delves into the life of Camille Claudel, who was Auguste Rodin’s apprentice and muse, and how the passion that they both shared led her to create groundbreaking works. Webb’s well-researched story will take you in and out of the salons and studios of 19th-century Paris and also give you the opportunity to know one of history’s most tragic and unsung rebels closely.

To buy this book, click here.

4. The Agony and the Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo by Irving Stone

This is not the first book to be written on Michelangelo, but it is definitely one of the books that captures his essence best: his difficult personality, his valor, his lifelong repression from his demanding family, and his complete identification with his own many-sided genius. This 800 pages long book is a biographical sketch of the famous Italian Renaissance artist, starting from his days of being an apprentice to his death at the age of 89. You can expect to get an intimate sketch of how difficult and dangerous Michelangelo’s days were, living under threats of being thrown into prison if he denied services to the Vatican, his personal relationships with friends and family and also with fellow artists.

To buy this book, click here.

5. Bridget Riley: A Very Very Person by Paul Moorhouse

This lucid biography by curator and writer Paul Moorhouse is a story of the notable Bridget Riley, whose life and art were beautifully entwined. A senior curator in London’s Tate Gallery, Moorhouse met Riley in 1931. In this book, he shows how the significance of Riley’s work does not merely lie in being optical but how “they are rooted in personal expression and express a personality.” Wondering where the book draws its title from? It was one of Riley’s grandmothers who described her as a ‘very very person’. As you proceed through the pages, you will see how she was an uncompromising person, never doing anything half-heartedly. It’s a story of her struggles to emerge as an artist, and the personal challenges she encountered before becoming one of the world’s most celebrated artists of the Swinging 60s London.

To buy this book, click here.

6. On Being An Artist by Michael Craig-Martin

This book is both a memoir and a manifesto. It is an insightful and gripping collection of his own writing; 152 short essays ranging from a couple of paragraphs to a few pages covering practical topics. The book is a compilation of occasional scribbling on art, reproduced catalogue essays and pieces of anecdotal reminiscence. It presents a collection of his artworks and also photographs of himself and some taken by Martin– of him as a child, installing an exhibition, and even some of his studio space. This book offers you the opportunity to dive into the inspiring journey and the mind of one of the leading artistic figures working today.

To buy this book, click here.

7. Diane Arbus: Portrait of a photographer by Arthur Lubow

Who doesn’t love the iconic, intimate portraits of Diane Arbus, the photographs of performers, eccentrics, and the dreamers that live inside everyday people? But how much do we really know about the life of this celebrated photographer? Arthur Lubow’s well-researched biography throws light on the life of this great 20th century American artist. Through the pages, you will see Arbus’s development from a wealthy, free spirit into first, a successful New York fashion photographer and then, a singular artist who had a unique way of capturing her subjects, and her profound need not only to see her subjects but to be seen by them.

Diane Arbus: Portrait of a photographer by Arthur Lubow

8. Ways of Seeing by John Berger

A fresh interesting change in perspective is always welcome. ‘Ways of Seeing’ will invite you to see and know the world differently. As Berger wrote, “The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.” In today’s time when cultural and political upheavals are at the highest, and globalization has enabled better and more fluid cultural transmission, this book maintains its relevance. With a leftist ideology and a sympathy for the women’s movement, Berger comments on how images starting from European oil paintings to modern advertisements inform and shape our realities and are at the base of many inequalities in society. This captivating book will capture your attention and make you question the images that serve as the foundation of our culture and how we construct our reality.

To buy this book, click here.

If you liked our suggestions, don’t forget that we always have more up our sleeves! We would also love to get suggestions from you to expand our reading list, so feel free to share it with us in the comments below!

Disclaimer: This is a list of our favourite biographies, autobiographies and novels, and is not a sponsored post.

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