We've got art books to recommend for readers of all ages, tastes, and even geographic regions. Check out this selection and find the perfect gift for the art-loving souls on your holiday shopping lists.
For the Nature Lover
Life Sketches, by Robert Bateman
About the book: Internationally acclaimed artist Robert Bateman has brought the natural world to vivid life with his unique perspective. His vast body of work—spanning species as large as the buffalo and as small as the mouse—has touched millions of hearts and minds, awakening a reverence for wildlife of all kinds. Bateman is perhaps best known for his gorgeous depictions of birds in flight and in repose, images that stir in the viewer a deep appreciation of colour, form and spirit.
Life Sketches is a moving journey in both words and images that, for the first time, allows Bateman’s fans full access into his creative process, detailing his singular artistic vision and the inspiration behind his iconic art. What emerges is a portrait of a young boy enchanted by the natural world around him and called to record it in his sketches and paintings. Bitten by wanderlust, Bateman travelled the world and documented his real life experiences in journals, sketches, and paintings. In Life Sketches, he recounts the evolution of his style from abstraction to realism and the events that have shaped his art into a vocation over many decades. And through it all, Bateman shows how his keen sensibilities extend beyond art, to a passion for conservation and relentless advocacy for the natural world that underpins an incredible artistic legacy.
For Avant Garde Aficionado
John Greer: retroActive, by Ray Cronin et. al,
Sculptor, conceptual artist, and unconventional art maker John Greer has been telling stories through his work for more than fifty years. Drawing on his present and past experiences, his travels and exploits, and his anxieties and fears, his work offers poignant meditations on the human environment, all the while challenging the viewer's perspective with humour, intelligence, and a trail of narrative.
RetroActive offers a comprehensive view of Greer's work and his commitment to the discourse of sculpture. Stunningly designed by Susanne Schaal and featuring the photographs of Raoul Manuel Schnell, the book contains more than three hundred representations of Greer and his work—in situ, in galleries, in process—bringing into focus Greer's significant contributions to the world of art and ideas. Also included in the book are essays by Ray Cronin, Andria Minicucci, Dennis Reid, Ron Shuebrook, David Diviney, Sarah Fillmore, and Vanessa Paschakarnis.
John Greer taught at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design for almost three decades, where his thinking and teaching helped shape contemporary sculpture in Canada. His work has been included in more than fifty solo and sixty group exhibitions and is held in public and private collections around the globe. In 2009 Greer was the recipient of the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts, Canada's highest distinction in the field of art and culture.
For the Avid Reader of Art Bios, Part 1
Pauline Boutal: An Artist's Destiny, 1894-1992, by Louise Duguay
About the book: In the first part of the twentieth century few women in western Canada had careers as artists—Pauline Boutal had three: 23 years as a fashion illustrator for the Eaton’s catalogue for the graphic design company, Brigden’s of Winnipeg, 27 years as the Artistic Director at the Cercle Molière Theatre and 70 years as a visual artist. Born in Brittany in 1894, Boutal painted in a traditional style and trained at the Winnipeg School of Art, the Cape Cod School of Art, and at l'Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris, France. She left an important legacy of portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and illustrations as well as theatre sets and costume designs. This English translation of Louise Duguay’s award-winning "Pauline Boutal: Destin d'artiste 1894–1992" shares the story of an important artist who lived an exceptional life.
Today a great number of Boutal’s works can be found in major private and corporate collections across Canada. For her contribution to the French culture and theatre in Canada, Boutal was awarded numerous prestigious prizes, including the Order of Canada. In addition to thousands of sketches, illustrations, and paintings, Boutal also left a rich legacy of letters, speeches and interviews at the Centre du Patrimoine Canadien. Drawing on these sources, Louise Duguay has created a work that honours the best of biography and autobiography.
For Your Favourite Haligonian
Hand Drawn Halifax, by Emma FitzGerald
About the book: Emma FitzGerald sketches Halifax and its residents vividly, in colour. She effortlessly catches moments in the life of the city. While she draws, she keeps notes on what she sees—and what people say to her. She has an ear, as well as an eye.
In this sketchbook readers will find spots they didn't even know existed and hear stories they never imagined. Emma overhears conversations in the bookstore, notices prom night in the Public Gardens, learns the recipe for McNabs famous Island lemonade, checks out Ashtray Rock, and finds out where the real fishermen live. The personality and character of the city and its people shine through in the brightly illustrated pages.
For the Lego Fiend
Bricksy, by Jeff Friesen
About the book: From Jeff Friesen, award-winning photographer and author of United States of LEGO®, comes a hilarious new book of diorama photographs that uses LEGO bricks to spoof the famous work of the mysterious anonymous graffiti artist known as Banksy. Friesen gives new meaning to gritty street art using clean, modernist bricks. Bricksy goes beyond transforming the medium by expanding the scenes it plays on and adding a humorous twist to each one. Each of the eighty-four photographs is wittily captioned, delightful to look at, and appropriate for a wide range of ages. At the end of the book is a legend featuring thumbnail reproductions of each original Banksy so readers can test their knowledge of Banksy’s catalogue with Friesen’s LEGO spinoffs.
While traditional street art is often rushed along by the threat of local law enforcement, Friesen has bountiful time to reimagine Banksy’s work into glossy LEGO glory that comes off the walls and springs to life. Banksy’s iconic characters gain intriguing new stories. Readers will discover where Banksy’s monkeys are taking charge and who the bouquet thrower’s star-crossed lover is.
You’ve never seen Banksy like this before. You’ve never seen LEGO like this before. Bricksy is a must-have book for fans of Banksy, fans of LEGO, and anyone with a sense of humor.
For the Hockey Fan
Saving Face: The Art and History of the Goalie Mask, by Jim Hynes and Gary Smith
About the book: Who was the first goaltender to wear a mask in a game? Who was the last to go without one? When did goalies start painting their masks?
These are just a few of the questions that are answered in this definitive book on goalie masks. Saving Face looks at the development of the mask from its earliest days as a rudimentary face-saving device to its current high-tech design, bullet-proof construction, and cutting-edge artwork.
The book offers a visual journey, too. More than 150 historic and modern photos, including thirty-plus full-page shots of some of the most famous masks ever created, support a text that weaves the tale of the mask’s development.
Based on extensive archival research and exclusive interviews, Saving Face tells the story of the goalies behind the mask and their fight for the right to wear one. It also looks at the talented mask makers, artisans, and artists behind hockey’s modern masterpieces. This updated edition includes masks worn by some of the most exciting stars in the game today.
For the Funnies Reader
For Better or for Worse: The Comic Art of Lynn Johnston, by Lynn Johnston, Amber Landgraff and Katie Hadway
About the book: For thirty years, cartoonist Lynn Johnston made daily additions to what would become a monumental body of work: her newspaper comic strip, For Better or For Worse. Chronicling the daily lives of the middle-class suburbanite Patterson family, Elly and John and their children, Michael, Elizabeth, and April, Johnston's strip was ground-breaking in its adherence to narrative and emotional realism, and its refusal to engage in melodrama, superpowers, or anthropomorphic animals. As the syndicated strips appeared in daily newspapers throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and the first decade of the 2000s, these characters aged with their readers, and their trials and tribulations were the same as those of their readers: the daily struggles of work, family, school, and bureaucracy.
Wildly funny and formally innovative, For Better or For Worse: The Comic Art of Lynn Johnston will be published to coincide with an international touring exhibition of Lynn Johnston's work, organized by the Art Gallery of Sudbury. The book features some of Johnston's most popular narratives, interspersed with an essay that chronicles the development of her drawing, her life, influences both personal and artistic, and the history of her wildly successful comic strip. This book also gathers together a generous selection of Lynn Johnston's daily comic strips and Sunday pages, spanning the lives of the Patterson family.
For the Avid Reader of Art Bios, Part 2
Inner Places: The Life of David Milne, by James King
About the book: David Milne (1882–1953) dedicated his life to exploring nature and casting it into art in a variety of modernist formats. He was born into poverty in rural Ontario and remained poor all his life because of his relentless dedication to his art. For him, art was life. Nothing mattered to him as much as the enormous “kick“ he felt when he was able to produce the image his artist's eye told him was there.
Milne returned to Ontario in 1929 after a twenty-five-year stay in the United States. In every place he lived his peripatetic existence, Milne created a different kind of landscape painting. In his chosen life of solitude, his mind and hand remained very much alive.
Since Milne spent as much time writing as he did painting, he provides an enormous amount of material for a life writer. His biography re-creates the texture of the artist's one-of-a-kind life and struggles, allowing a truly intimate portrait to emerge.
For Your Favourite Arty Kid
Grant and Tillie Go Walking, by Monica Kulling, illustrated by Sydney Smith
About the book: Grant Wood believed that to be a real artist, he had to live in Paris. But once he got there, he realized that to be a great painter he needed to return to the people and places—and even animals—that he knew and loved the best.
Inspired by the life of artist Grant Wood, this is the sensitively imagined story of the great American painter and a cow named Tillie. Skillfully mixing fact with fiction, Monica Kulling’s text explores the making of an artist, while Sydney Smith’s illustrations echo Grant Wood’s own techniques. The result is a gently wise picture book that will encourage young readers and artists to trust the love that is sometimes only found close to home.
For the Canadiana Collector
Canadian Pacific: The Golden Age of Travel, by Barry Lane
About the book: The story of Canadian Pacific is one of the greatest stories in the world. Straddling the continent for more than a century and globe for more than fifty years, Canadian Pacific is inextricably linked with the history of Canada itself.
In 1885, the company completed the construction of two thousand miles of railway system and linking the Atlantic to the Pacific. It then established fleets of vessels on both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, laying the foundation for a transportation route that allowed members of the British Empire to travel around the world. To enhance the travel experience, the company also constructed great castle-like hotels, including the Algonquin in St. Andrews, the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, and the Banff Springs Hotel in the Rockies, which themselves became landmarks.
In this sumptuously illustrated history of a company whose story is integral to the Golden Age of Travel, Barry Lane recounts the history of Canadian Pacific, from the construction of the transcontinental railway to the development of the hotels and the building of the shipping line that linked Canada to the rest of the world.
For the Globe-Trotting Vancouverite
A Sense of Place: Art at Vancouver International Airport, by Robin Laurence
About the book: A spectacular overview of one of the most highly acclaimed art collections on the West Coast, which greets travellers at YVR as they journey between land, sea, and sky. Vancouver International Airport, known for its modern design and expansive topography, offers an impressive visual display of award-winning art and architecture. Each terminal building represents the culture heritage, natural beauty, and iconic experiences that embody British Columbia, and the artwork exhibited throughout plays an integral role in telling those stories. Revered in particular for its focus on Pacific Coast Native art, the collection is presented in the thematic groupings of land, sea, and sky - three realms that intersect at YVR.
In YVR, art historian and critic Robin Laurence will examine the commissioning of dozens of striking artworks as a response to the airport's overall architectural and design plan, and particularly as a reflection of the cultural heritage and natural environment identified with the province of British Columbia. Among the highlights of the collection are monumental sculptures by leading Northwest Coast First Nations artists including Susan A. Point (Coast Salish), Robert Davidson (Haida), Dempsey Bob (Tahltan-Tlingit), Richard Hunt (Kwakwaka-wakw), Lyle Wilson (Haisla), Joe David (Nuu-chah-nulth), Connie Watts (Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka-wakw and Gitxsan), and the late Bill Reid, famed for The Spirit of Haida Gwaii: The Jade Canoe. Their art both welcomes and bids farewell to the millions of travellers who make their way through YVR each year.
And more Vancouver!
Jeff Wall: North and West, by Aaron Peck
About the book: Jeff Wall has lived in his hometown of Vancouver for all but four years of his life. Most of the images he has created are shot in and around that city, yet his art transcends these local subjects and addresses universal themes of history and memory. That explains why his work is celebrated around the world and has been the subject of countless international exhibitions from the Tate Modern, to MoMa, to the Art Institute of Chicago. His importance to photoconceptualism is recognized throughout the art world and his cinematographic pictures are immensely popular with the public and the academy alike. The images he has chosen for North and West explore the meaning of history and how we remember the cities we inhabit. The towns imprinted in our minds no longer exist. Urban landscapes constantly change but the remnants of the past remain and history's influence never ends. North and West is a succinct and indispensible look into the profoundly moving and influential oeuvre of Jeff Wall.
For the Toronto Library Champion
All the Libraries Toronto, by Daniel Rotsztain
About the book: All one hundred branches (plus two bookmobiles!) of the Toronto Public Library appear in this whimsical colouring book.
Within these pages you will find a love letter to the Toronto Public Library, created by urban geographer Daniel Rotsztain. Rotsztain’s quest to illustrate all the branches of North America’s most used library system took him up river valleys, through city parks, over highways, and along the lakeshore. In this book, Rotsztain invites you along to explore the city’s unique neighbourhoods and architecture through its temples to books, from the vast to the humble, with nothing but your own coloured pencils and pens.
For the Traditionalist
Tom Thomson, by David Silcox
About the book: First published in 1977 to commemorate the centenary of the birth of a Canadian painter whose brief, brilliant life, and untimely death in a mysterious canoe accident, gained him mythic status in his homeland, Tom Thomson: The Silence and the Storm quickly attained legendary status in its own right. This newly designed and expanded edition revives a classic and adds more than 25 never-before-seen paintings and a new introduction. Co-authors Harold Town, a founder of the Painters Eleven and an icon of Canadian art himself, and art historian David P. Silcox, former head of Sotheby's Canadian division, celebrate this early associate of the Group of Seven as a key creative figure without falling into the trap of cultural jingoism. Thomson, the authors maintain, was an inspired regional painter?in the best sense of that term who stumbled upon the bold Expressionist palette pioneered by Matisse and his contemporaries despite working from a provincial backwater.
Thomson's finest works are reproduced here in painstakingly colour-matched plates, including more than 80 of Thomson's famous oil sketches in exactly their original size.
For Those for Whom One Trudeau PM is Not Enough
Trudeau: La Vie en Rose, by George A. Walker
About the book: Master engraver George A. Walker presents Trudeau: La Vie en Rose, a compendium of engravings celebrating the life of one of Canada's most well-known politicians: Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
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