CULTURE & ARTS
12/10/2014 09:26 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Best Art Books Of 2014

Jorg Greuel via Getty Images

We're counting down the last days of December 2014, and -- in typical fashion -- we're reviewing a year's worth of art in the process. In celebration of 365 more days of performance, architecture, painting, photography, street art and more, we've compiled a list of the 30 art-related publications worth your time. Whether you want to cast a reading list for 2015 already, or you're looking to buy the perfect present for your art loving, bookworm buddy, these art books span the wonders of the creative world.

Behold, the 30 books you should read, buy, and gift before the year is over:

1. The Brilliant History of Color in Art by Victoria Finlay

color

Perfect for: Anyone who obsesses over pigments in their daily life, or a pal who likes trivia. (Did you know that one of the keys to translating "madder red" into pigment was adding stale ox blood or cow manure to steeping threads?) Read more here


2. 100 Painters of Tomorrow by Kurt Beers

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Perfect for: Contemporary art lovers and anyone who fancies innovative painters pushing two-dimensions and pigment to the limit. Read more here


3. Banksy in New York by Ray Mock

banksy
Perfect for: The New Yorker who obsessively tracked Banksy movements last year. Read more here


4. Leonardo's Brain by Leonard Schlain

leonardos brain

Perfect for: A Leonardo da Vinci disciple or any reader enchanted by the intersection of art and science. Read more here


5. The Art of Pin-Up by Dian Hanson, Sarahjane Blum, Louis Meisel

pin

Perfect for: Your feminist, body positive pal who enjoys a historical romp through female sexuality. Read more here


6. American Grotesque edited by Larry Lytle and Michael Moynihan

american

Perfect for: A photography lover with a slightly macabre taste. If you know the William Mortensen -- the subject of this book -- you know he was a master of pictorialism, mixing horror and beauty with early 20th century manipulative techniques. Read more here


7. Kurt Vonnegut Drawings by

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Perfect for: Literature fiends who are intrigued by Vonnegut's other art -- sketching. Read more here


8. Plush by Marilyn Minter

plush

Perfect for: Your badass aunt or roommate who proudly doesn't shave her armpits, duh. Read more here


9. Sketch! The Non-Artist's Guide to Inspiration, Technique, and Drawing Daily Life by France Belleville-Van Stone

chair

Perfect for: Someone with creative block, who needs a good New Year's resolution. Read more here


10. Ángel Gitano: The Men of Flamenco by Ruven Afanador

flameco

Perfect for: A dance enthusiast who would appreciate this lovely, largely monochromatic tome dedicated to the men of flamenco. Read more here


11. Nicholas Nixon: Forty Years of The Brown Sisters by Nicholas Nixon

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Perfect for: Your sister, your mother, your girlfriend who's basically your sister. This is a beautiful photography book that features portraits of four women who gathered together every year for 40 years to take a photo. It will bring a tear to your eye. Read more here


12. Draw Paint Print Like Great Artists by Marion Deuchars

frida

Perfect for: Budding artists and quirky art historical nuts. Read more here


13. A Separate Cinema: The First 100 Years of Black Poster Art by John Duke Kisch

separate

Perfect for: Cinephiles and alternative history buffs. Read more here


14. The Oldest Living Things In The World by Rachel Sussman

sussman

Perfect for: An individual who both loves to ogle plant life and finds planetary history particularly captivating. Read more here


15. Mapping It Out by Hans Ulrich Obrist

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Perfect for: A highbrow best friend who enjoys debating the politics of space, who else? Read more here


16. Pen & Ink by Wendy MacNaughton and Isaac Fitzgerald

ink

Perfect for: The brother, coworker or grandmother who brandishes some serious tattoo art. Read more here


17. 33 Artists in 3 Acts by Sarah Thornton

artists

Perfect for: Any gallerist, curator or artist who understands the inner workings of the art world. Read more here


18. Typographic Universe by Steven Heller and Gail Anderson

q

Perfect for: Design geeks and anyone who worships at the throne of typography in its natural environment. Read more here


19. Cosmigraphics by Michael Benson

cosmi

Perfect for: The visual nerd who often contemplates the image of our universe. Read more here


20. Animal Kingdom by Millie Marotta

kingdom

Perfect for: The arts lover who just wants to color. Don't we all? Read more here


21. Creative Block by Danielle Krysa

creative block

Perfect for: The artist who needs a pick-me-up, and an aesthetically beautiful one at that. Read more here


22. Art & Ecology Now by Andrew Brown

ecology

Perfect for: Your old art school comrade who cares, sincerely, about eco-awareness in art. Read more here


23. The Naked Nude by Frances Borzello

helm

Perfect for: Any nudist. Or how about as a romantic gesture for your significant other?Read more here


24. We Are FriendsWithYou by FriendsWithYou

cloud city

Perfect for: That one brother-in-law or colleague who fawns over social media. But really, anyone with a sense of humor and that special zest for life! would enjoy this fun art book. Read more here


25. The Andy Warhol Diaries by Pat Hackett.

andy

Perfect for: The pop art follower who's constantly amazed by the mind of Andy Warhol. Read more here


26. The World Atlas Of Street Photography by Jackie Higgins

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Perfect for: Photographers with wanderlust. Read more here


27. Vincent Van Gogh: The Essential Letters edited by Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker

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Perfect for: The art historian who wonders whether Vincent van Gogh really cut off his own ear. Read more here


28. Outdoor Gallery by Yoav Litvin

fumero
Perfect for: Street art enthusiasts who want to learn about 46 of the leading figures in NYC's graffiti and street art scene. Read more here


29. Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe

yumi sakujawa
Perfect for: The comic collector or graphic novel reader in your life. Read more here


30. Pretty Vacant: The Graphic Language of Punk by Kaytie Johnson

xray

Perfect for: The friend who still collects safety pins, styles her hair into a mohawk and dons combat boots everyday. Read more here


BONUS: Salvador Dali's Les Diners de Gala We recently discovered this 1970s masterpiece. It's an erotic cookbook. And it's magnificent.

dali
Read more here


For the best art books of 2013, check out our list here.

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Best Art Books of 2012
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