98 books like Alison Watt

By Julie Lawson, Tom Normand, Andrew O'Hagan

Here are 98 books that Alison Watt fans have personally recommended if you like Alison Watt. Shepherd is a community of 9,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Carlo Crivelli: Shadows on the Sky

Richard Stemp Author Of The Secret Language of the Renaissance: Decoding the Hidden Symbolism of Italian Art

From my list on recent exhibition catalogues.

Who am I?

I have always enjoyed looking at art, and love it when I can help others to enjoy it too. Curators and academics are incredibly knowledgeable, but sometimes theory gets in the way, and academic precision can lead to turgid texts. I’d rather write in a way that is as simple as possible – without being condescending – and so help people to understand art more fully. That’s why I love it when exhibitions bring art together in new ways, encouraging us to look afresh at familiar images, or startling us with something we haven’t seen before.

Richard's book list on recent exhibition catalogues

Richard Stemp Why did Richard love this book?

One of the best ways to keep up with the latest ideas about art is to go to temporary exhibitions curated by the leading minds in each field – which is why I am recommending my favourite catalogues from the past year. Carlo Crivelli is one of my favourite artists, and this particular catalogue is undoubtedly the best thing written about him so far. His work was neglected for decades because Art Historians couldn’t find a way to fit him into a rather restrictive ‘Story of Art.’ The curators wanted to explain what was truly remarkable about him – and they succeeded. Crivelli’s work just happens to be some of the most sophisticated of the 15th century, playing games with picture making that wouldn’t be seen again until the modern era.

Book cover of Poussin and the Dance

Richard Stemp Author Of The Secret Language of the Renaissance: Decoding the Hidden Symbolism of Italian Art

From my list on recent exhibition catalogues.

Who am I?

I have always enjoyed looking at art, and love it when I can help others to enjoy it too. Curators and academics are incredibly knowledgeable, but sometimes theory gets in the way, and academic precision can lead to turgid texts. I’d rather write in a way that is as simple as possible – without being condescending – and so help people to understand art more fully. That’s why I love it when exhibitions bring art together in new ways, encouraging us to look afresh at familiar images, or startling us with something we haven’t seen before.

Richard's book list on recent exhibition catalogues

Richard Stemp Why did Richard love this book?

It’s hard to love every artist – we all have different tastes – and I have always had problems with the apparently dry and academic art of Nicolas Poussin. That is, until I saw the exhibition Poussin and the Dance. Not only does it show a more relaxed side to this apparently reserved man, reveling in the fluidity and intimacy of movement, but as an exhibition it was perfectly formed. Every object, whether painting, drawing, sculpture, or vase, had a reason to be there, and each was informed by its presence with the others: a true conversation between artworks that you could enjoy and from which you could learn. And of course, the clarity of the minds which brought these exhibits together is also evident in the writing of the catalogue.

By Emily A Beeny, Francesca Whitlum-Cooper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Poussin and the Dance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Richly illustrated and engagingly written, this publication examines how the pioneer of French classicism brought dance to bear on every aspect of his artistic production.

Scenes of tripping maenads and skipping maidens, Nicolas Poussin’s dancing pictures, painted in the 1620s and 1630s, helped him formulate a new style. This style would make him the model for three centuries of artists in the French classical tradition, from Jacques-Louis David and Edgar Degas to Paul Cézanne and Pablo Picasso.

Poussin and the Dance, the first published study devoted to this theme, situates the artist in seventeenth-century Rome, a city rich with the…


Book cover of Johannes Vermeer: On Reflection

Richard Stemp Author Of The Secret Language of the Renaissance: Decoding the Hidden Symbolism of Italian Art

From my list on recent exhibition catalogues.

Who am I?

I have always enjoyed looking at art, and love it when I can help others to enjoy it too. Curators and academics are incredibly knowledgeable, but sometimes theory gets in the way, and academic precision can lead to turgid texts. I’d rather write in a way that is as simple as possible – without being condescending – and so help people to understand art more fully. That’s why I love it when exhibitions bring art together in new ways, encouraging us to look afresh at familiar images, or startling us with something we haven’t seen before.

Richard's book list on recent exhibition catalogues

Richard Stemp Why did Richard love this book?

The exhibition dedicated to Johannes Vermeer at the Old Master Picture Gallery in Dresden last year was one of the best I have ever seen. Inspired by a recent discovery – a crucial detail in one of the Gallery’s own works had been painted over – the exhibition set out to explore the artist’s work in-depth focusing on this one image. The restoration of the painting and the revelation of the hidden detail led to a re-evaluation of Vermeer’s art. Each room of the exhibition, and chapter of the book, introduces a different aspect of the painting so that, when you finally get to see it and read about it, you have a thorough understanding of its meaning and development, and even of the society in which it was produced.

By Stephan Koja,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Johannes Vermeer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window by Johannes Vermeer is one of the most famous works of seventeenth-century Dutch art. Preserved at the Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister in Dresden, the painting has been restored, in an elaborate process lasting from 2017 to 2021. The removal of a large section of overpainting dating from a later period has profoundly altered the work's appearance and revealed the original composition. To showcase the discovery, the Dresden Gemaldegalerie is now presenting the Girl Reading a Letter along with other masterpieces by Vermeer and a selection of exceptional Dutch genre paintings that reveal…


Book cover of Laura Knight: A Panoramic View

Richard Stemp Author Of The Secret Language of the Renaissance: Decoding the Hidden Symbolism of Italian Art

From my list on recent exhibition catalogues.

Who am I?

I have always enjoyed looking at art, and love it when I can help others to enjoy it too. Curators and academics are incredibly knowledgeable, but sometimes theory gets in the way, and academic precision can lead to turgid texts. I’d rather write in a way that is as simple as possible – without being condescending – and so help people to understand art more fully. That’s why I love it when exhibitions bring art together in new ways, encouraging us to look afresh at familiar images, or startling us with something we haven’t seen before.

Richard's book list on recent exhibition catalogues

Richard Stemp Why did Richard love this book?

Some artists, I think, have been unjustly neglected. In 1936, 168 years after it was founded, Laura Knight was the first woman to be elected as a full member of the Royal Academy of Art. In 1965 she was the first woman to have a solo exhibition at the same august institution, and yet today her name is little known. Why is that? Quite simply because she was a woman. Not only that, but her work valued the traditional craft of naturalistic representation precisely when abstraction, and then other forms of art beyond painting, became popular. Last year’s exhibition, the most comprehensive staged so far, together with the superbly written and illustrated catalogue, should go a long way to set the record straight. I think she was a great artist!

By Anthony Spira, Fay Blanchard,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Laura Knight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A major survey of Dame Laura Knight, first female Royal Academician and popular British artist of the 20th century. Laura Knight (1877-1970) was one of the most famous and popular English artists of the twentieth century. She was the first woman to have a solo exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, in 1965. In the following decades her realist style of painting fell out of fashion and her work become largely overlooked. A new generation has rediscovered her work, finding a contemporary resonance in her depictions of women at work, of people from marginalized communities and her contributions as…


Book cover of Many Points of Me

Linda Oatman High Author Of One Amazing Elephant

From my list on children’s books about grief and not facing it alone.

Who am I?

I have passion for the topic of grief among middle-school-aged children, as I struggled with my grief when I was ten and my beloved grandmother died. My dad came from a very large family, and so other relatives passed during my childhood, with me always dealing with feelings of confusion after the loss. I think that children need to know that they are not alone when they are facing a loss, whether it be of a human or a pet.

Linda's book list on children’s books about grief and not facing it alone

Linda Oatman High Why did Linda love this book?

Another middle-grade novel that includes a journey in a search for meaning after grief, Caroline Gertler’s book is also about the beauty of self-discovery. In a search for her father (and his artwork) the main character Georgia finally finds herself...as well as healing, hope, and family. In the end, Georgia learns that “home” is where she belongs, with the people who love her no matter what. A story not only about grief but about unconditional love, Gertler’s novel is a lovely one for those wondering about a lost parent.

By Caroline Gertler,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Many Points of Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

“Sensitive and thoughtful—a story about loss, friendship, and the beauty of self-discovery.”—Rebecca Stead, Newbery Medal–winning author of When You Reach Me

When Georgia finds a secret sketch her late father—a famed artist—left behind, the discovery leads her down a path that may reshape everything holding her family and friends together. Caroline Gertler’s debut is a story about friendship, family, grief, and creativity. Fans of Rebecca Stead’s Goodbye Stranger, Dan Gemeinhart’s The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, and E. L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler will find a new friend in Georgia.

Georgia Rosenbloom’s father was…


Book cover of Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos

Karlin Gray Author Of Anne and Her Tower of Giraffes

From my list on picture-book biographies for young animal lovers.

Who am I?

I write picture-book biographies and my latest book focuses on the first giraffologist, Dr. Anne Innis Dagg. While researching this book, I learned about so many people who have dedicated their lives to studying and protecting animals. Almost always, their love of wildlife began in childhood. So why not inspire young animal lovers today with true stories about people who share their passion for wildlife?

Karlin's book list on picture-book biographies for young animal lovers

Karlin Gray Why did Karlin love this book?

I like biographies that approach a subject from a different angle and this book does that by focusing on the animals that influenced Frida Kahlo. By witnessing Frida’s relationships with her pets—a parrot, eagle, fawn, cat, dogs, turkeys, monkeys—kids will get to know Frida and learn how she became one of the world’s most beloved artists despite several challenges. The back matter explains that the artist often included her pets in her work. So when readers of this biography encounter one of Kahlo’s animalito paintings (perhaps in a museum or in another book), they will delight in recognizing Frida’s furry and feathered friends. A wonderful way to introduce kids to an artist’s work!

By Monica Brown, John Parra (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor 2018
ALA Notable Children's Book 2018
New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2017
Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2017
Smithsonian Top Ten Best Children's Book of 2017
2018 Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year

Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra, is based on the life of one of the world's most influential painters, Frida Kahlo, and the animals that inspired her art and life. 

The fascinating Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is remembered for her self-portraits, her dramatic works featuring bold…


Book cover of Stravinsky's Lunch

Fiona Sampson Author Of Two-Way Mirror: The Life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning

From my list on literary biographies.

Who am I?

Fiona Sampson is a leading British poet and writer, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, awarded an MBE for services to literature. Published in thirty-seven languages, she’s the recipient of numerous national and international awards. Her twenty-eight books include the critically acclaimed In Search of Mary Shelley, and Two-Way Mirror: The life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and she’s Emeritus Professor of Poetry, University of Roehampton.

Fiona's book list on literary biographies

Fiona Sampson Why did Fiona love this book?

Drusilla Modjeska’s Stravinsky’s Lunch is an absolutely original study of art and life. Its starting and finishing points are the contrasting lives of two major Australian artists, Stella Bowen and Grace Cossington, born twelve months apart in the 1890s. Don’t be put off if you’ve never heard of them (though their work is wonderful). This brilliant book involves its author – and even the reader – in an untricksy but radical look at the self who makes.

By Drusilla Modjeska,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stravinsky's Lunch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A moving, deeply insightful study of two artists-both twentieth-century Australian women-who lived and worked in divergent realms

Drusilla Modjeska's title derives from an anecdote about the composer who, while creating a piece of music, ordered his family to remain silent while taking a meal with him-so Stravinsky could preserve his concentration on his work. Modjeska's book investigates the life patterns of women artists, most of whom have been unable to manage such a neat compartmentalization of daily life and creativity.

Stravinsky's Lunch tells the stories of two extraordinary women, both born close to the turn of the century in Australia…


Book cover of Life with Picasso

Michael Findlay Author Of Seeing Slowly: Looking at Modern Art

From my list on making modern art exciting.

Who am I?

I have spent an exciting half-century in the New York art world as a dealer and an author and while my passion is to encourage people to enjoy art for art’s sake (rather than money or prestige) my many close friendships with artists demonstrate how much their life informs their art. The authors of these five books bring the art as well as the artists to life.

Michael's book list on making modern art exciting

Michael Findlay Why did Michael love this book?

She was 21, he was 61. Thousands of books have been written about Picasso, this one is unique. Gilot is an artist (whose work he admired) who became the mother of two of his children and the only woman to have left him. All Picasso’s work is about his life and this book illuminates the passions of his later years.

Women were Picasso’s most enduring subject and his relationships with them vitally inform all the decades of his work. His greatness as an artist is matched only by his failure as a partner and his poor treatment of the real women in his life is well documented. He met his match in Françoise Gilot, the only woman to have left him voluntarily. As an artist in her own right, she is in a unique position to inform us about the man and his work.

By Françoise Gilot, Carlton Lake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Life with Picasso as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Francoise Gilot was a young painter in Pasis when she first met Picasso - he was sixty-two and she was twenty-one. During the following ten years they were lovers, worked closely together and she became mother to two of his children, Claude and Paloma.

Life with Picasso, her account of those extraordinary years, is filled with intimate and astonishing revelations about the man, his work, his thoughts and his friends - Matisse, Braque, Gertrude Stein and Giacometti among others. Francois Gilot paints a compelling portrait of her turbulent life with the temperamental genius that was Picasso.

She is a superb…


Book cover of Threads: The Delicate Life of John Craske

Clare Hunter Author Of Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle

From my list on needlework that will surprise and move you.

Who am I?

I have sewn since I was a child, taught by my mother to keep me out of mischief. From having the best-dressed dolls in the neighbourhood I graduated to making my own, sometimes outlandish, forms of fashion and then became a banner maker and community textile artist. Sewing is in my DNA and I love the tactile, rhythmic soothe of it. But I have long been curious about how, in the many books are published about needlework, very few ever mention why people sew. This is what fascinates me, the stories of sewing, because it is through its purpose that we discover the spirit that lies within it. 

Clare's book list on needlework that will surprise and move you

Clare Hunter Why did Clare love this book?

This is a rare and poignant insight into a man’s needlecraft and it was a delight to read. Julia Blackburn sets out on a mission to rediscover the neglected embroideries and forgotten story of the Norfolk fisherman, John Craske, (1881-1943). Her research leads her to many dead ends and unexpected encounters and, along the way, she experiences and shares her own story of loss. I love this book because it takes me into the world of the sea captured in the fishing folk Blackburn meets and introduces me to Craske’s mesmerising embroideries made under tragic circumstances.

By Julia Blackburn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Threads as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the East Anglian Book of the Year 2015

John Craske, a Norfok fisherman, was born in 1881 and in 1917, when he had just turned thirty-six, he fell seriously ill. For the rest of his life he kept moving in and out of what was described as 'a stuporous state'. In 1923 he started making paintings of the sea and boats and the coastline seen from the sea, and later, when he was too ill to stand and paint, he turned to embroidery, which he could do lying in bed. His embroideries were also the sea, including his…


Book cover of Diego Rivera: His World and Ours

Nancy Churnin Author Of Beautiful Shades of Brown: The Art of Laura Wheeler Waring

From my list on children’s books about art.

Who am I?

I am an award-winning children’s book author who writes stories about ordinary people, like you and me, that discovered their unique gifts and used those gifts, plus perseverance, to make the world a better place. All my books come with free teacher guides, resources, and projects on my website where kids can share photos of the great things they do.

Nancy's book list on children’s books about art

Nancy Churnin Why did Nancy love this book?

The best thing a book about an artist can do is to encourage children to make art, too. That’s what award-winning author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh does in this innovative biography of Diego Rivera, one of the most famous painters of the 20th century. Tonatiuh focuses on how Rivera dedicated himself to telling the history and stories of people and places he knew and loved in Mexico by capturing their images. Taking this book to the next level, Tonatiuh then asks his young readers what stories this painter would bring to life today and encourages them to create new images that the world needs to see.

By Duncan Tonatiuh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Diego Rivera as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This charming book introduces one of the most popular artists of the twentieth century, Diego Rivera, to young readers. It tells the story of Diego as a young, mischievous boy who demonstrated a clear passion for art and then went on to become one of the most famous painters in the world. Duncan Tonatiuh also prompts readers to think about what Diego would paint today. Just as Diego's murals depicted great historical events in Mexican culture or celebrated native peoples, if Diego were painting today, what would his artwork depict? How would his paintings reflect today's culture?Diego Rivera: His World…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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