Close
Books

7 of the most beautiful new art coffee table books to buy now

These new publications will delight every art devotee

Not only do the latest art books cover an engaging breadth of subject matter, they’re also a delight to leaf through, filled with paintings and drawings, photographs and personal mementoes. From a concise yet comprehensive celebration of Black British artists to a compelling study into the correlation between photography and feminism, here’s our edit of the best newly published coffee table books on art. Perfect for the aesthete in your life.

The Glossary Edit

The Best New Art Coffee table books

Bridget Riley: Working Drawings
7 of the most New Art Coffee Table Books To Buy Now
Bridget Riley with study for Continuum, west London studio, 1964. Photo: John Minshall

Bridget Riley is one of the most famous artists of her generation, a pioneer of the Op art movement in the 1960s. Over her 70-year career, she has produced a vast oeuvre of paintings, lauded for their clean lines, graphic colours and geometric patterns. Each of these works is the result of a long process, in which the artist methodically works through each and every variable, colour, tone and scale.

This is the first ever book dedicated to these studies. Over 150 drawings, colour analysis, notations, scale studies and cartoons – spanning Riley’s working life – have been brought together to give a true insight into her working method. Four previously published texts written by art historians, curators, museum directors and Riley herself shed further light.

£45, Thames and Hudson

Bound

This is an incredibly special publication in more ways than one. There are only 100 editions of this individually bound collection of sculptural works and no two are the same. Each one contains two original signed and dated artworks, in addition to more than 30 specially commissioned artworks. 

The book has been published by Sarabande, the Foundation established by the late Lee Alexander McQueen to help accelerate the careers of artists and designers. Indeed, some of those mentored and supported by the Foundation have contributed to the book. From floral inked work by Stephen Doherty to paper artist Alice von Maltzahn’s intricate cut-outs and Aurora Pettinari York’s hand embroidery, this is a truly unique addition to any coffee table.

£2,500, Dover Street Market; Sarabande Foundation

African Artists: From 1882 to Now

A deep dive into the history of African art from the late 19th century to the current day. The work of 316 artists – who were born or have lived in the continent – has been selected by an esteemed panel for the purposes of these pages. From Nigerian painter Aina Onabolu, who was born in 1882, to global names like El Anatsui, Lubaina Himid, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu and Robin Rhode, the artists chosen are from 51 countries, across a diverse range of backgrounds and ethnicities.

Each artist is represented by one iconic artwork with accompanying text, contributing to a narrative that highlights the artistic prowess of a continent long sidelined in art history. There’s also an introductory essay by Chika Okeke-Agulu, Professor of African and African Diaspora Art at Princeton University. African Artists “is bound to elicit vigorous conversation about the idea of art, Africa and modernity, but also of the place of the continent, its people and their cultural production during the age of colonisation and in the years since” he says.  

£49.95, Phaidon

RELATED CONTENT
Lorna Simpson
7 of the most New Art Coffee Table Books To Buy Now

A revised and updated monograph on the work of photographer and multimedia artist Lorna Simpson. Simpson is often cited as one of the key artists representing contemporary American visual culture in our time, her fragmented photographs tapping into the socio-political zeitgeist. 

This 240-page book charts her critically acclaimed career from the 1980s through to her most recent work. Among the 200 images are several never-published-before works including photographs, paintings, collages and personal notes. Interviews and essays – including an exclusive, newly commissioned essay by recently appointed Guggenheim Deputy Director Naomi Beckwith – further tell the story of Simpson’s remarkable journey.

$69.95, Phaidon

Photography - A Feminist History
7 of the most New Art Coffee Table Books To Buy Now

A revised and updated monograph on the work of photographer and multimedia artist Lorna Simpson. Simpson is often cited as one of the key artists representing contemporary American visual culture in our time, her fragmented photographs tapping into the socio-political zeitgeist. 

This 240-page art coffee table book charts her critically acclaimed career from the 1980s through to her most recent work. Among the 200 images are several never-published-before works including photographs, paintings, collages and personal notes. Interviews and essays – including an exclusive, newly commissioned essay by recently appointed Guggenheim Deputy Director Naomi Beckwith – further tell the story of Simpson’s remarkable journey.

$69.95, Phaidon

A Brief History of Black British Art
7 of the most New Art Coffee Table Books To Buy Now
7 of the most New Art Coffee Table Books To Buy Now
The British Library, Tate Modern, Yinka Shonibare, Level 2 West
7 of the most New Art Coffee Table Books To Buy Now
Lubaina Himid. Freedom and Change (1984)
7 of the most New Art Coffee Table Books To Buy Now
Egonu, Woman in Grief

An exhaustive celebration of the contribution Black artists in Britain have made to art and global culture. Spanning from the 1960s and the Caribbean Artists Movement through to the present day, critic and curator Rianna Jade Parker has picked out over 60 Black British artists, collating a wonderfully diverse range of their works. 

With representation of Black artists and the ethics of the art world under scrutiny like never before, this publication feels timely, shining a light on the topics that are at the heart of Black British art and contextualising them. Race, nationhood, citizenship, gender, class and sexuality, no theme has been overlooked in this concise, accessible book. “I believe that my sensibilities as a Black woman born in Britain have enabled a balanced and respectful interpretation that is essential for a general audience,” Parker explains. 

£15, Tate Publishing

Tracey Emin / Edvard Munch:
The Loneliness of the Soul
7 of the most New Art Coffee Table Books To Buy Now

Tracey Emin RA has long been fascinated by Edvard Munch. She has in the past said that it is the Norwegian Expressionist’s work – and his interest in the complexity and vulnerability of the human condition – that inspired her the most during her formative years. 

This book, by Kari J. Brandtzæg and Edith Delaney, brings together works by both artists to highlight how Munch – though separated by time and history – has influenced Emin’s paintings, sculptures, textiles and neons. It also invites the reader to recognise how both artists delved into the same emotional landscapes – grief, loneliness, ageing and childlessness – as well as highlighting the difference between a female and male approach to these themes. 

$40, Munchmuseet

 

Main image: I am The Last of my Kind (detail; 2019), Tracey Emin. Courtesy Galleria Lorcan O’Neill © Tracey Emin. All rights reserved, DACS 2020
RECOMMENDED
Subscribe to our curated London guides for the very best in contemporary culture across the capital. Plus the latest style and beauty news and reviews.