Have an artist, photographer, or coffee table-book connoisseur on your list this year, but have no idea what to buy for them? I've got 13 great art books to give as holiday presents, so you can put away any worries you have about buying your cousin yet another candle.
Most people are art-book people. If they say they aren't, chances are, they've never looked through a coffee table book full of gorgeous, engaging photography and prints. Pretty much anyone can get down with nature photography or Andy Warhol, but there's an art-book soulmate out there for everyone — the one coffee table book that you've waited your whole life to see.
(As a person with more art books than her coffee table can handle, I'm on the opposite end of that spectrum.)
That's all to say that your loved one needn't be an art lover to appreciate an art book as a holiday gift. If they've got their niche — be it cars, postcards, war-effort propaganda, or Barbie dolls — there's an oversized art book with their name on it.
Check out my suggestions for art books to give your loved ones this holiday season, and be sure to share your favorites with me on Twitter!
1. Women in Trees, edited by Jochen Raiss
This book is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of photographs of women in trees. What makes this book so interesting is that Jochen Raiss didn't take the photos himself. Rather, the photo collector compiled 91 found, vintage photographs of tree-climbing ladies into a single book. It's a weird but fun idea that your feminist friends will love.
2. Audrey Hepburn in Hats by June Marsh
Got a pal who just loooves Audrey Hepburn? Gift them June Marsh's art book filled with photos of the fashion icon in her best and brightest headgear.
3. The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan
The Singing Bones is the one book on this list that I would be the most tempted to keep for myself. This unique art book puts Shaun Tan's fairytale-inspired sculptures on display. Based on 75 tales from the Brothers Grimm, your literature-loving friend is sure to treasure this book.
4. Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon
The only picture book on this list, Beastly Verse pairs printmaker JooHee Yoon's gorgeous illustrations with animal-based poems from your favorite writers, including William Blake's "The Tyger" and Christina Rossetti's "The Caterpillar."
5. Back in the USSR: Soviet Roadside Architecture from Samarkand to Yerevan by Peter Ortner
OK, so this art book might be a teeny bit niche, but, if you have a friend who loves the particular quirkiness wrought by the less-than-terrible facets of the Soviet Union, there's not really a better book to buy them. Germany-based photographer Peter Ortner traveled from Azerbaijan to Ukraine, gathering pictures of modernist, Soviet-built bus stops for Back in the USSR.
6. Brooklyn Hipsters by Vero Bielinski
We've heard so much about how hipsters are ruining Brooklyn this year that it seems wrong not to include Vero Bielinski's aptly titled photobook, Brooklyn Hipsters. Though it may not seem like it now, Bielinski's book will be the other end of the nostalgia wormhole as NYC moves on.
7. Every Person in New York by Jason Polan
Another book for New Yorkers and New York lovers, Every Person in New York is filled with Jason Polan's quick sketches of various NYC residents, from cabbies to celebutantes.
8. Dalí: Les Dîners de Gala by Salvador Dalí
This reprint of surrealist Salvador Dalí's weird and wonderful 1973 cookbook made headlines earlier this year. Give it to the friend who has everything, melting clocks included.
9. KAWS: Where the End Starts, edited by Andrea Karnes
The Brooklyn-based artist known as KAWS has had his work featured just about everywhere you could think of, from Japanese toy manufacturers to the 2013 MTV VMAs. KAWS: Where the End Starts surveys his career, showcasing reworkings of many pop culture icons, including Snoopy, Mickey Mouse, and Spongebob Squarepants.
10. Separate Cinema: The First 100 Years of Black Poster Art by John Kisch
Since John Kisch received his first black movie poster, Caldonia, in 1972, the Separate Cinema Archive has "become a respected and comprehensive collection of more than 25,000 rare film posters, lobby cards and photographs originating from thirty countries." Drawing from the archive, this art book showcases 100 years of black film art, and it's not to be missed.
11. The Greatest of Marlys by Lynda Barry
Marlys might be everyone's least-favorite cousin, but this obnoxious pre-teen and her family will remind you of everything you loved and hated about growing up. Lynda Barry's comics collection makes a fantastic addition to any quirky home library.
12. Make Art Not War: Political Protest Posters from the Twentieth Century by Ralph Young
The 20th century was chock full of world wars, genocides, conflicts, and revolutions, and the resistance movements knew how to make their presence known with public displays of art. Give Make Art Not War to your favorite political friend.
13. Hokusai's Lost Manga by Sarah E. Thompson
Know a manga lover? Have a friend who always plays the "tentacle porn" card perfectly in Cards Against Humanity? They need Sarah E. Thompson's collection of Edo Period printmaker Hokusai Katsushika on their coffee table. Trust me, they'll love it.