100 books like Whistler

By Daniel E. Sutherland,

Here are 100 books that Whistler fans have personally recommended if you like Whistler. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Pieter Bruegel: The Complete Works

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern Author Of Lenin's Jewish Question

From my list on European art, culture, and history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern is the Crown Family Professor of Jewish Studies and a Professor of Jewish History in the History Department at Northwestern University. He teaches a variety of courses that include early modern and modern Jewish history; Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah; history and culture of Ukraine; and Slavic-Jewish literary encounters.

Yohanan's book list on European art, culture, and history

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern Why did Yohanan love this book?

Although it is published as a coffee-table book with beautiful and carefully prepared illustrations, this is the best biography of Pieter Bruegel and a cultural study of his times and works. Magnificently written, exuberantly rich, it will please anybody interested in early modern history, art, Reformation, and colonial wars. This is the book to read slowly, as one drinks vintage wine. 

By Thomas Schauerte, Jürgen Müller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The life and times of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1526/30-1569) were marked by stark cultural conflict. He witnessed religious wars, the Duke of Alba's brutal rule as governor of the Netherlands, and the palpable effects of the Inquisition. To this day, the Flemish artist remains shrouded in mystery. We know neither where nor exactly when he was born. But while early scholarship emphasized the vernacular character of his painting and graphic work, modern research has attached greater importance to its humanistic content.

Starting out as a print designer for publisher Hieronymus Cock, Bruegel produced numerous print series that were…


Book cover of Marc Chagall: The Lost Jewish World

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern Author Of Lenin's Jewish Question

From my list on European art, culture, and history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern is the Crown Family Professor of Jewish Studies and a Professor of Jewish History in the History Department at Northwestern University. He teaches a variety of courses that include early modern and modern Jewish history; Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah; history and culture of Ukraine; and Slavic-Jewish literary encounters.

Yohanan's book list on European art, culture, and history

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern Why did Yohanan love this book?

One can read this book in two ways: as a highly representative collection of Marc Chagall’s works from different periods of his almost century-long life – and as an insightful study of the meaning of Chagall’s works. Harshav’s short analytical essays of Chagall’s major paintings emphasize how Yiddish idioms and the images of traditional Jewish world of the shtetl shape much of Chagall’s later artistic endeavors. Whatever the painter from Vitebsk put on canvas, he was bringing to life his recollections of the language his spoke as a child and artifacts among which he grew up.

By Benjamin Harshav,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the first book to focus on Chagall's Jewish roots. Chagall is one of the most popular artists of the 20th Century, with work in every major museum in the world. The book includes 200 illustrations, many from the little-known Russian theatre works, that have rarely been published before. The Russian-born French painter Marc Chagall is recognized as one of the most significant painters and graphic artists of the 20th century. This new book, "Marc Chagall and the Lost Jewish World", is the first book on Chagall, to illustrate succinct interpretations of Chagall's world and iconography, and the nature…


Book cover of Through Soviet Jewish Eyes: Photography, War, and the Holocaust

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern Author Of Lenin's Jewish Question

From my list on European art, culture, and history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern is the Crown Family Professor of Jewish Studies and a Professor of Jewish History in the History Department at Northwestern University. He teaches a variety of courses that include early modern and modern Jewish history; Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah; history and culture of Ukraine; and Slavic-Jewish literary encounters.

Yohanan's book list on European art, culture, and history

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern Why did Yohanan love this book?

Written by one of the key scholars of Jewish history in the USSR, who died untimely in 2020, this book challenges our bias about the USSR and its Cold-War era culture. Shneer tells how the Soviet photographers, many of whom where Jews, documented the Nazi atrocities during World war II and how the Soviet officialdom used their visual narratives to create new cult of the Great Patriotic war and the image of the USSR as a humanistic society.

By David Shneer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Through Soviet Jewish Eyes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Finalist for the 2011 National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category

Most view the relationship of Jews to the Soviet Union through the lens of repression and silence. Focusing on an elite group of two dozen Soviet-Jewish photographers, including Arkady Shaykhet, Alexander Grinberg, Mark Markov-Grinberg, Evgenii Khaldei, Dmitrii Baltermants, and Max Alpert, Through Soviet Jewish Eyes presents a different picture. These artists participated in a social project they believed in and with which they were emotionally and intellectually invested-they were charged by the Stalinist state to tell the visual story of the unprecedented horror we now call the Holocaust.…


Book cover of Modernism in Kyiv: Jubilant Experimentation

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern Author Of Lenin's Jewish Question

From my list on European art, culture, and history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern is the Crown Family Professor of Jewish Studies and a Professor of Jewish History in the History Department at Northwestern University. He teaches a variety of courses that include early modern and modern Jewish history; Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah; history and culture of Ukraine; and Slavic-Jewish literary encounters.

Yohanan's book list on European art, culture, and history

Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern Why did Yohanan love this book?

This excellent collection of articles by the top connoisseurs of East European art and culture discusses how Ukrainians and Jews created new trends in art and literature in the midst of the revolutionary turmoil Kyiv, then short-lived capital of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and later of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. This book proves that avant-garde images and trends emerge from the revolutionary utopianism and the desire to create a universalistic language understandable beyond the ethnic divide and languages.

By Virlana Tkacz, Irena Makaryk,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The study of modernism has been largely focused on Western cultural centres such as Paris, Vienna, London, and New York. Extravagantly illustrated with over 300 photos and reproductions, Modernism in Kyiv demonstrates that the Ukrainian capital was a major centre of performing and visual arts as well as literary and cultural activity. While arguing that Kyiv's modernist impulse is most prominently displayed in the experimental work of Les Kurbas, one of the masters of the early Soviet stage, the contributors also examine the history of the city and the artistic production of diverse groups including Ukrainians, Russians, Jews, and Poles.…


Book cover of Anya's Secret Society

Carolyn Watson Dubisch Author Of Andy and the Mask of the Dead

From my list on open your child's eyes to cultures around the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I moved to New York City for school when I was 18 years old and found myself surrounded by people from all over the world. Every fourth person in New York City is an expat. It was fascinating to me and since then I have lived in three countries and done months-long artist residences in Morocco and Ireland. I also read books and stories about cultures from around the world and am particularly enchanted by Africa. Currently, I live on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the city of Mazatlán and have written two children’s books about Mexico. 

Carolyn's book list on open your child's eyes to cultures around the world

Carolyn Watson Dubisch Why did Carolyn love this book?

The illustrations are marvelous and the story is a peek into what it’s like for a child that is different in Russian culture. As a left-handed child she is forced to write and do nearly everything with her right hand except draw. This is the author’s personal story and you can see from the art that her drawing is amazing. I added this book to my list as Russia tops the headlines these days and remembering that children in Russia are just children with their own stories to tell feels important. Also, it’s an incredible book. 

By Yevgenia Nayberg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Left-handed Anya draws with great passion . . . but only when she's alone.

In Russia, right-handedness is demanded--it is the right way. This cultural expectation stifles young Anya's creativity and artistic spirit as she draws the world around her in secret.

Hiding away from family, teachers, and neighbors, Anya imagines a secret society of famous left-handed artists drawing alongside her. But once her family emigrates from Russia to America, her life becomes less clandestine, and she no longer feels she needs to conceal a piece of her identity.


Book cover of Yoko Ono: An Artful Life

John Corcelli Author Of Outside Looking In: The Seriously Funny Life and Work of George Carlin

From my list on the most creative artists of our time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a student of biography. Artists, musicians, and comedians are what I read about. I crave to know what makes a great artist tick, how their ideas develop, and why they choose to pursue their craft at huge personal expense. I’m motivated to write more of my own. These biographies are informative, entertaining, and engaging reads, well worth your time. It’s a challenging and frustrating process to tell an artist’s story. Yet their roots, their influences, and how they shake up popular culture make for greater insight into our humanity. Artists take risks and I’m always impressed by the boldness of their vision.

John's book list on the most creative artists of our time

John Corcelli Why did John love this book?

One of the most misunderstood artists of the last century has to be Yoko Ono. Donald Brackett, whose written biographies of Amy Winehouse, Tina Turner, and Sharon Jones, has done an excellent job of telling Ono’s story, going way beyond the standard, reductive tales about Ono and her relationship with John Lennon. His book traces Ono’s roots in Japan, her early works of performance art, and her time in New York in the Fifties mixing with the city’s art scene in Soho. Brackett’s love and respect for Ono’s artistic achievements shines throughout its pages.

By Donald Brackett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For more than sixty years, Yoko Ono has fascinated us as one of the world’s most innovative, radical artists. From a childhood of both extraordinary privilege and extreme deprivation in war-time Japan, she adopted an outsider’s persona and moved to America where, after a spell at Sarah Lawrence College, she made a place for herself in bohemian arts circles. She was already twice divorced and established as a performance artist in the Fluxus movement and in Tokyo’s avant-garde scene before her fortuitous meeting with the Beatles’ John Lennon at a London Gallery in 1966.

Their intense yet fraught relationship, reputed…


Book cover of The Secret World of Walter Anderson

Lori Mortensen Author Of Nonsense! The Curious Story of Edward Gorey

From my list on children’s books about people who made a difference.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an award-winning children’s author of more than 100 books, including many biographies. I first fell in love with biographies when I was a child and read about young blind and deaf Helen Keller. Blind and deaf? I couldn’t imagine. Yet, page by page, as I stepped into little Helen’s world, I felt as if I experienced her struggles, triumphs, and tragedies right along with her. I discovered that in spite of her great challenges, she succeeded. That’s why I love biographies and why I write them. I hope my biographies open a door into someone else’s world that can remind readers that they can succeed too, in spite of obstacles in front of them. I try to write the sort of picture books I love—funny, whimsical, captivating, and unforgettable.

Lori's book list on children’s books about people who made a difference

Lori Mortensen Why did Lori love this book?

The Secret World of Walter Anderson is one of my favorite picture book biographies. From the first lyrical lines, Bass draws the reader into another time and place where a solitary Mississippi artist climbs into his leaky skiff and sails off to an uninhabited island to paint the world around him. The watercolor illustrations are so wonderful, the reader will hear the crash of the waves, feel the warm sun on their shoulders, and breathe in the salty air right along with the illusive artist. It’s a brilliant story about a man who “may be the most famous American artist you’ve never heard of.”

By Hester Bass, E.B. Lewis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Secret World of Walter Anderson 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?

Enter the fascinating world of reclusive nature-lover Walter Anderson -- perhaps the most famous American artist you've never heard of.

Residents along the Mississippi Gulf Coast thought Walter Anderson was odd, rowing across twelve miles of open water in a leaky skiff to reach Horn, an uninhabited island without running water or electricity. But this solitary artist didn't much care what they thought as he spent weeks at a time on his personal paradise, sleeping under his boat, sometimes eating whatever washed ashore, sketching and painting the natural surroundings and the animals that became his friends. Here Walter created some…


Book cover of Nature's Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story

Elizabeth Brown Author Of Dancing Through Fields of Color: The Story of Helen Frankenthaler

From my list on women artists who broke barriers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been involved in the arts all my life, working as a writer, in film, and as a musician. I have degrees in music and creative writing and have studied visual arts and art history extensively as well. Besides being an author, I teach writing and humanities at the college level. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I do!

Elizabeth's book list on women artists who broke barriers

Elizabeth Brown Why did Elizabeth love this book?

Gwen Frostic overcame disability as a child to become one of the most famous nature artists. Through her engaging art and writing, Frostic reminded people to stop and revel in the wonder and beauty of the natural world which is all around. The colorful illustrations highlight the informative and lyrical text. 

By Lindsey McDivitt, Eileen Ryan Ewen (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nature's Friend as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

2019 Green Earth Book Awards - Long List The art and writing of Gwen Frostic are well known in her home state of Michigan and around the world, but this picture book biography tells the story behind Gwen's famous work. After a debilitating illness as a child, Gwen sought solace in art and nature. She learned to be persistent and independent--never taking no for an answer or letting her disabilities define her. After creating artwork for famous Detroiters and for display at the World's Fair and helping to build WWII bombers, Gwen moved her printmaking business to northern Michigan. She…


Book cover of This Little Artist: An Art History Primer

Lorie Ann Grover Author Of I Love All of Me (Wonderful Me)

From my list on children's board books to cut your teeth on.

Why am I passionate about this?

In the course of everyday life, when I’m writing books for middle grade and young adult readers, board books spring to my mind. Sometimes they come from catching a glimpse of a child hugging a parent, or they may spring from a phrase I overhear or say myself. That sounds like a board book, I think, and I write it down quickly. Sometimes, I’ll wake in the night, and a board book text will come to me in rhyme. Along with writing board books, I’ve been recommending quality works at the readertotz blog since 2009 in order to raise the profile of the format. Authors, illustrators, and publishers must create the very best quality, and then we must support, enjoy, and celebrate the works. A simple eight words may introduce a first reader to a love of books for life.

Lorie's book list on children's board books to cut your teeth on

Lorie Ann Grover Why did Lorie love this book?

Part of the This Little series, Joan Holub’s This Little Artist is an introduction to art history for our wee ones. Daniel Roode’s stylized figures with big round eyes illustrate greats such as Michelangelo, Mary Cassatt, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. A rhyme and portrait give an introduction on the left-hand page, and several facts follow to accompany the artist in their own setting on the right page. The book concludes with eighteen other artists and their techniques, as well as questioning what your reader might create. This is a little treasure of creativity and inspiration.  

By Joan Holub, Daniel Roode (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Little Artist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

Learn all about artists who changed history in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for creators-in-training!

Painting, shaping, making art.
With creative joy, hands, and heart.

Little artists have great big imaginations.

In this follow up to This Little President, This Little Explorer, This Little Trailblazer, and This Little Scientist now even the youngest readers can learn all about great and empowering artists in history! Highlighting ten memorable artists who paved the way, parents and little ones alike will love this creativity primer full of fun, age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations.


Book cover of Drawing Projects: An Exploration of the Language of Drawing

James Hobbs Author Of Sketch Your World: Drawing techniques for great results on the go

From my list on to inspire you to draw.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started drawing in my twenties when I was lucky to meet and be inspired by tutors who passed on their passion for it. I have drawn and kept sketchbooks ever since: they trace the everyday things, my travels and important life events, but they are also places for thoughts and experiments, notes, and phone numbers. I don’t dare leave home without a sketchbook and pen in case I miss some unmissable thing. I went to art college, trained as a journalist, worked at a variety of art publications, have written three books about drawing, and exhibit and sell my drawings and prints. 

James' book list on to inspire you to draw

James Hobbs Why did James love this book?

This book is great because it combines illuminating interviews with leading contemporary artists who draw, such as Cornelia Parker, Dryden Goodwin, and Charles Avery, with no-nonsense practical projects. The book has the atmosphere of an art school studio about it, which is understandable because it has sprung from the authors’ collective 45 years as artists and lecturers. It feels like a creative launchpad, one that will take your drawings in new exciting directions if you’re prepared to give it a go. This is a book you should get dirty in the studio. I can almost taste the charcoal dust in the air reading this book.

By Mick Maslen, Jack Southern,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Drawing Projects' is both a pratical guide to drawing and an informative insight into the minds of artists who work with the medium.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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