The Frick Art Reference Library adds several thousand new books to its holdings each year, including titles from all around the world that cover a vast range of topics. This reading list consists of a few standout publications acquired in 2022 that we are excited to share. Many of these titles—all of which were published within the last two years—present new research with an eye to expanding the viewpoints represented in the library’s collections.
In the books on this list, beloved artists’ lives and work are given fresh consideration and context, refining our appreciation of their contributions. Also represented below is a continued focus of our acquisitions, which is to provide access to scholarship on diverse subjects within the bounds of our collections. For more information about the library’s collecting practices, see our collection development policy.
You can find these books and more in the library’s reading room at Frick Madison—book a free appointment today.
Black Artists in America: From the Great Depression to Civil Rights
By Earnestine Jenkins (2021)
This book was published in association with an exhibition at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee, tracing the careers of Black artists in America, from the Harlem Renaissance and explorations of modernism to the development of social realism and the Civil Rights Movement. Artists featured include Elizabeth Catlett, Loïs Mailou Jones, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, Horace Pippin, Augusta Savage, Walter Augustus Simon, and Charles White.
Race and Racism in Nineteenth-Century Art: The Ascendency of Robert Duncanson, Edward Bannister, and Edmonia Lewis
By Naurice Frank Woods Jr. (2021)
Delve into the overlooked careers of three African Americans artists who faced adversity as painters and sculptors in the South. A fresh eye is given to Hudson River School painter Robert Duncanson and New England landscape painter Edward Bannister. Also discussed is the unique position of Neoclassical sculptor Edmonia Lewis, the first African American and Native American artist recognized by the mainstream American artistic community, before she achieved international success as an expatriate in Rome.
Edited by Adriano Pedrosa and Tomás Toledo (2021)
Originally organized in Brazil, this exhibition currently touring the United States brings together works spanning six hundred years of African cultural interaction with the Americas, with more than two hundred artists observing and reflecting on the transatlantic slave trade, colonialism, and their repercussions. Individual narratives are connected to the broader context of Western culture in works by artists such as Romare Bearden, John T. Biggers, Ellen Gallagher, Wifredo Lam, Norman Lewis, Alma Thomas, Hank Willis Thomas, Kara Walker, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
Killing Men & Dying Women: Imagining Difference in 1950s New York Painting
By Griselda Pollock (2022)
The gender politics of Abstract Expressionism come under scrutiny in this new study. Author Griselda Pollock employs ideas from an array of feminist thinkers to reevaluate the exclusively male contemporary critical evaluations of artists Lee Krasner and Helen Frankenthaler, whose experiences are considered in light of the misogyny of the 1950s art world.
Vermeer and the Art of Love
By Aneta Georgievska-Shine (2022)
This elegantly illustrated book explores the spaces and emotions described in the delicate work of Johannes Vermeer. While offering a general introduction to the work of the Dutch master, the author emphasizes the passions arising from the lingering gazes piercing through the artist’s luminous interiors. The subject of spiritual and sensual love in the symbolism of Vermeer and his contemporaries is also examined.
Laura Knight: A Panoramic View
By Anthony Spira (2021)
This exhibition catalog from the MK Gallery in Milton Keynes, England, presents the work of celebrated English artist Laura Knight. A member of the Royal Academy, she was the first woman to have a retrospective at the storied institution, in 1965. Although her rigid Realist painting may seem dated today, her depiction of marginalized people and her activities as an official war artist during World War II offer fresh insights into the male-dominated British art community in the mid-twentieth century.
Women, Aging, and Art: A Crosscultural Anthology
Edited by Frima Fox Hofrichter and Midori Yoshimoto (2022)
This anthology brings together the work of eleven authors who consider the image of aging women in art from a wide variety of cultures and contexts. Chapters include a look at the work of Russian-born American sculptor Louise Nevelson, painter of large-scale nude self-portraits Joan Semmel, Japanese photographer Miwa Yanagi, and Bauhaus photographer Lucia Moholy. Other topics of investigation include depictions of women from elderly servants to matriarchs in both portraits and religious works.
If These Apples Should Fall: Cézanne and the Present
By T. J. Clark (2022)
In this new publication, author T. J. Clark muses on the enduring fascination that French Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne has held for viewers, artists, and writers over the last century since his death. Clark probes how Cézanne combined painterly effects and modernist innovations to arrive at a place of ominous ambiguity. The works of artists Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Camille Pissarro are discussed in relation to Cézanne, whose legacy they each helped secure, all viewed from the present moment.
Redon Retrouvé: Oeuvres et Documents Inédits
(Redon Rediscovered: Unpublished Works and Documents)
Edited by Dario Gamboni, Laurent Houssais, and Pierre Pinchon (2022)
This French-language monograph is more than a reproduction of previously unpublished sketchbooks and ledgers by French Symbolist artist Odilon Redon. Sumptuously illustrated, the book offers a detailed examination of the nineteenth-century artist’s professional and family life, including archival photographs, source material, and a survey of important works. Despite the academic nature of this publication, any reader could spend hours peeling back the layers of this most enigmatic artist.
Adventure in Art
By Lucy Carrington Wertheim (2022)
This handsome reprinting of gallerist Lucy Wertheim’s 1947 autobiography accompanied an exhibition at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne, England. The pioneering gallerist founded the Twenties Group, a collection of young British artists determined to attract the same level of attention as the Modernist artists renowned elsewhere in Europe. Sculptors Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth and painters Christopher Wood and Victor Pasmore were all indebted to Wertheim’s perseverance in London’s emerging contemporary art market.
Stunner: The Fall and Rise of Fanny Cornforth
By Kirsty Stonell Walker (2022)
In this expansive biography of Fanny Cornforth—muse and model of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a leading member of the British artist group the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood—includes new insights from previously unpublished correspondence. The letters reveal Cornforth’s role in the founding of the Pre-Raphaelite collection of American industrialist Samuel Bancroft. The biography also details Cornforth’s business dealings with Rossetti’s works after his death, which earned her an unfounded bad reputation before her tragic death in the West Sussex County Lunatic Asylum.
All photos by Joseph Coscia Jr., The Frick Collection