Books on Painters and the History of Painting


February 27, 2023

759. Books on painters and the history of painting 

Further Reading:

Edward Dolnick The Forger’s Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century, 2008.

In this true-crime thriller, Edward Dolnick details how a mediocre artist named Han van Meegeren temporarily fooled the art world and Nazi art collector Hermann Goering, convincing them he had access to the original works of Johannes Vermeer. His genius in psychological manipulation almost led to success.

Georges Duby and Guy Lobrichon The History of Paris in Painting, 2009.

When many people think of Paris, they think of art and artists. This book shares the story of the city as seen through the eyes of the artists it has sheltered. Over 300 illustrations show the city from the medieval period to the modern skyline.

James A. Ganz and Richard Kendall The Unknown Monet: Pastels and Drawings, 2007.

Claude Monet was often regarded as a painter who painted from life, seldom planning his works in advance. But Ganz and Kendall concentrate on the role of drafts in his process.

Deborah Heiligman Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers, 2017.

In this Horn Book Prize winner for children’s literature, Deborah Heiligman shows how the deep friendship between celebrated artist Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo helped the artist succeed despite his troubled personal life.

April Higashi, ed. Jerry Garcia: The Collected Artwork, 2005.

Rock music icon Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead was also a gifted visual artist. This coffee table book showcases his paintings, drawings, and prints gathered by art curator April Higashi. Additional essays by famous people who knew Garcia, including fellow band members, Bob Dylan, Carlos Santana, and others, add insights into Garcia’s work.

Ross King Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling, 2003.

Canadian novelist and nonfiction writer Ross King writes about the tempestuous years that the famed sculptor Michelangelo spent laboring on the famed ceiling of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel beginning in 1508. The great artist had to deal with rivalries, ill health, financial problems, domestic issues, and time constraints, but the results were magnificent.

John Loughery John Sloan: Painter and Rebel, 1997.

Painter John Sloan worked in New York City in the early 20th century as part of the Ashcan School, which sought to capture the city’s gritty realism. Author John Loughery depicts the social and political environment of the time.

Herbert Read A Concise History of Modern Painting, 1959.

In this history, which was republished in 1985, English art critic Herbert Read examines the paintings by esteemed artists of the 20th century through the late 1950s.


Thomas S. Buechner Norman Rockwell, Artist and Illustrator, 1970.

Norman Rockwell was known for his early to mid-20th-century covers for the Saturday Evening Post. Brooklyn Museum director Thomas S. Buechner showcases the artist who captured ordinary Americans amid considerable societal upheaval.

For more information on the Further Reading series, see Further Reading: Start Here.

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