17 Gorgeous Art Books That You Don't Need To Wrap Before You Put Them Under The Christmas Tree

Giving a book as a gift is deceptively difficult. I mean, what if your friend or family member already has this book? What if they don't like it? What if you've purchased the wrong variant cover and now the holidays are ruined? But never fear, because you can't go wrong with a beautiful art book. These books are not just great to read, they're a stunning centerpiece for any coffee table, desk, or counter. As much as we all try not to judge books by their covers, these books are gorgeous pieces of art in their own right. Here are a few excellent art books that don't even need wrapping to make the perfect gift.

The art book is a great way to give someone yet another book as a present without burdening their already overstuffed bookshelf. Art books can live freely in the living room. They're big and beautiful without taking up too much space, they're fascinating without feeling like a homework assignment, and they're homey and comforting without being a scented candle. In sort, an art book is the perfect gift for just about anyone. Here are some of the most beautiful art books out there, to give as a gift or to grace your own coffee table in the new year:

'#girlgaze: How Girls See the World' by Amanda de Cadenet

#girlgaze is a collection of beautiful, revolutionary photos depicting how young women view the world at this particular moment in time. A diverse group of female-identifying photographers have come together to create this multi-faceted vision of girlhood. It's a must have for feminists of every gender.

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Harry Potter Illustrated Box Set

The Harry Potter series is already a masterpiece, but Jim Kay's illustrations make it into a stunning work of visual art as well. This boxed set collects Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets with beautiful, full color illustrations of our favorite boy wizard and company.

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'What We See in the Stars: An Illustrated Tour of the Night Sky' by Kelsey Oseid

If you've ever wondered why that guy Orion has a belt, pick up What We See in the Stars. It's a richly illustrated guide to the night sky. From constellations to nebulae, this book uses original art to cover the myth, history, and science behind the cosmos.

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'The Dogist: Puppies' by Elias Weiss Friedman

Look, at the end of the day, we all just want to look at high res photographs of puppies. Every dog lover in your life needs The Dogist: Puppies, a precious gallery of puppy portraits. This book documents puppies as they nap, play, stumble, explore, and wear fancy outfits.

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'The Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure' by William Goldman, illustrated by Michael Manomivibul

Literary romantic types will fall head over heels in love with this illustrated edition of William Golman's The Princess Bride. It still has all of the swashbuckling, high adventure, and miracles. But now the characters are brought to life in beautifully rendered illustrations as well.

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'Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors' edited by Mika Yoshitake

You know those Infinity Mirror Room art installations that inspired so many selfies? This book explores the art behind the installations, with gorgeous pictures of Yayoi Kusama's artwork and essays on the artistic process of working with sculpture, light, and mirrors.

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'The Burger Lab: The Art and Science of the Perfect Burger' by Daniel Wilson

If you consider burgers to be the highest form of art, then this is the book for you. Burger Lab explores the elements of the perfect burger, from bun to patty to condiments, complete with pop-up burgers, cross sections, and recipes.

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'Neverwhere' by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell

This book is not quite as large and intimidating as some of the others, but it does contain one strange story about life beneath the streets of London, illustrated by the incomparable Chris Riddell. His signature line art brings a magical, scrappy beauty to the world of London Below in Neil Gaiman's beloved novel.

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'200 Women: Who Will Change The Way You See The World' by Ruth Hobday and Geoff Blackwell, photography by Kieran Scott

200 women from all walks of life have been asked the same five interview questions. Their wide range of answers will inspire you with stories of love, loss, redemption, and triumph. This book of portraits and interviews is a unique look into 200 individual lives, each of them with something transformative to say.

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'The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations' by Oprah Winfrey

Who says that an art book has to be all about the pictures? The Wisdom of Sundays is a collection of uplifting and life-changing insights from the most trustworthy woman on Earth, Oprah Winfrey. Accompany Oprah on a spiritual journey and enjoy the gorgeous landscape of her California home.

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'Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York' by Roz Chast

For New Yorkers or anyone else in love with the Big Apple, Roz Chast's Going Into Town is the perfect love letter to NYC. She covers everything from commuting to those black splotches of sidewalk gum. It's a funny, nutty, real, and altogether irresistible guide to all things New York.

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'Tenements, Towers & Trash: An Unconventional Illustrated History of New York City' by Julia Wertz

Or, for a slightly different take on the City that Never Sleeps, check out Julia Wertz' Tenements, Towers & Trash. This illustrated history takes on the beautiful and ridiculous New York of years past: the story of the original Ray's Pizza, the pinball prohibition, the horse bones of Brooklyn's Bottle Beach, and so much more.

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'Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work' by Massimiliano Gioni

Fans of old school punk will love this collection of art by artist Raymond Pettibon. A Pen of All Work includes over 700 images, from Pettibon's early days in the punk rock scene to his more recent museum installations, all of them embracing the blurred line between "low" and "high" culture.

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'Hidden Figures Illustrated Edition' by Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures tells the true story of four African-American mathematicians at NASA, and how they achieved some of the greatest moments of the American space program. Now this inspiring story of the women who lead the space race is being released as an illustrated edition, perfect for the desk of any young aspiring astronaut or engineer.

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'Flowerevolution' by Katie Hess

Whether you want to unlock your full potential or just enjoy some beautiful floral photography, Flowerevolution is there for you. This is a lovely guide to flowers, both on a spiritual and a botanic level. Join Katie Hess in discovering ancient and modern methods for harnessing the healing powers of the plant life that grows all around us.

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'Teresita Fernández: Wayfinding' by Denise Markonish

The artist Teresita Fernández is best known for her elaborate, arresting installations, placing viewers into entirely new environments. She creates sculptures or entire "worlds" out of unconventional materials. This utterly beautiful book collects Fernández’s body of work, and delves into her process of "wayfinding," or moving from place to place.

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'Bridges: A History of the World's Most Spectacular Spans' by Judith Dupré

Bridges lives up to its title: this is indeed a spectacular tour of the most breathtaking bridges the world has to offer. With this 20th-anniversary edition, Bridges has been updated to include magnificent photos of some of the world's newest, hugest bridges, as well as an exploration of the classic behemoths of architecture.

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