Whether you're self-gifting or looking for the ideal present for the art lover in your life, it would be remiss of us not to recommend the RA Shop as your first port of call this Christmas. If you missed the RA's recent Bronze exhibition, why not buy the book the Wall Street Journal described as 'the most beautiful book published anywhere in the World this year' - the Bronze exhibition catalogue.
You could also slip some Hockney into your Christmas stocking with the pocket-sized Six Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm with Illustrations by David Hockney.
It's clearly the season for new books on Royal Academicians with titles on the late, much-loved Mary Fedden,
iconic Welsh painter Kyffin Williams
and former President of the RA Charles Wheeler
also hot off the press.
Finally, here are five recent art publications on the Christmas wishlists of the RA Magazine team:
Artists’ Postcards: A Compendium
By Jeremy Cooper, Reaktion, RRP £40
Anna Banana and the Dada Brothers ‘Dada Land’. Collection of Jeremy Cooper (1977). Jeremy Cooper’s critical guide is a fascinating insight into the world of the artist postcard. He reveals the democratic nature of the medium and the important place the postcard has within 20th century art. He shows how artists have elevated the form finding in its matter-of-factness a rich vein of ideas and associations which they have appropriated and exploited, transforming in the process the humble postcard into an art form. In the age of digital technology and the instant image, it is gratifying to know there is still place for the handmade.
- Nick Tite, Head of Publishing Operations
By Ai Weiwei, Edited by Larry Warsh, Princeton University Press, RRP £8.95
For those who have been moved by his struggles with the Chinese authorities, who admire his art or dance along to his irreverent interpretation of Psy's 'Gangnam Style', taken up by artists and museums across the world on YouTube, Ai Weiwei's little book of sayings is for you. A fantastic take on Mao's Little Red Book that is small enough to carry with you everywhere, it makes a perfect stocking-stuffer. 'Everything is art. Everything is politics,' he says. And open this book to any page to find inspiring words from China's most famous artist and activist, explaining why he'll never stop fighting for freedom of speech, human rights and democracy. 'To protect the right of expression is the central part of an artist's activity….In China many essential rights are lacking, and I wanted to remind people of this.'
- Sarah Greenberg, Editor of RA Magazine
By Courtney Watson McCarthy, Thames & Hudson, RRP £19.95
Fans of Antoni Gaudi's joyously elaborate architectural fantasias will love this. Bulging with sculptural details and dizzyingly whimsical facades, Gaudi's Art Nouveau buildings and park designs are ideally suited to a pop-up treatment.
This recently published book covers all his greatest hits, from Park Güell to the famously unfinished Sagrada Familia. Ideal Christmas holiday browsing with a festive glass of Catalan cava.
- Amy Macpherson, Website Editor
Vincent’s Trees: Paintings and Drawings by Van Gogh
By Ralph Skea, Thames & Hudson, RRP £12.95
How could you not want this book? Vincent’s Trees examines Vincent Van Gogh’s magnificently sensuous portrayals of trees, from spiky, leafless winter trunks, to swirling masses of colour in the Provence countryside. Van Gogh treated trees like people; they all had different personalities in his eyes. One of my favourite paintings is ‘Olive Grove’ from 1889, where the tree trunks are blue and the leaves merge entirely with the grey-blue sky while wind strokes through grass below.
This well-produced, small book is perfect if you don’t have time to read Random House’s Van Gogh: The Life or get through the six volumes of Vincent van Gogh – The Letters. And if you want to learn about Van Gogh’s passion for trees while you’re out and about... guess what? Rare for a book on Van Gogh, this one is handbag-sized.
- Eleanor Mills, Assistant Editor
David Bailey’s Delhi Dilemma
By David Bailey, Steidl, RRP £80
Barber shop, Delhi, 2009 © David Bailey ‘How does one photograph Delhi without creating clichéd tourist-friendly images from the pages of National Geographic, and without seeming condescending? This is my Delhi Dilemma,’ writes David Bailey in this two-volume work, the result of a three-week trip to the Indian city.
Bailey makes you feel that if you keep your eyes open, these are the colours and scenes you will see. They are images of a Delhi that, due to rapid change, may not last for much longer. I have visited Delhi once and am returning next year. If you do not have a trip planned, why not buy this book - sumptuously printed on bespoke paper - and spend hours looking at it as I have.
- Jane Grylls, Advertising Manager