New Books: London & UK Exhibition Catalogues

New Book Display

We’ve got a very fetching new books display at the moment, with the UK exhibition catalogues cutting a particularly fine figure as the summer shows are unleashed – most recently the Courtauld’s own Collecting Gauguin: Samuel Courtauld in the ’20s, curated by Karen Serres.

Elsewhere the Tate have been busy, with solo exhibitions from both Ellen Gallagher and Lebanese artist Saloua Raouda Choucair at Tate Modern, and a retrospective of Gary Hume at Tate Britain. I’m afraid we didn’t quite have space to fit in Tate Liverpool’s catalogue of Chagall: Modern Master too, but it is in stock at Z5079 ZUR KUN; and the Patrick Caulfield catalogue will be with us soon!

The Estorick Collection are showing Giorgio Casali: photographer / domus 1951-1983, a collection of his striking and stylish photographic work of Italian architecture and design originally shown in Domus magazine. And opening soon, we have Jockum Nordström: All I Have Learned and Forgotten Again at the Camden Arts Cenre from 26th July with free entry.

Old news for some, but keeping a stalwart presence on the new books display is David Bowie Is, the V&A’s showcase summer exhibition; alongside Man Ray Portraits – formerly at the National Portrait Gallery, now up at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, so if you missed it the first time around there’s still time to catch it a bit further north until 22nd September.

Finally, it’s last call for this year’s Deutsche Borse Photography Prize at the Photographer’s Gallery; and Souzou: Outsider Art from Japan – a free exhibition at the Wellcome Collection and well worth a visit before they close the gallery space on for redevelopment over the summer months. Both shows close on 30th June.

That’s it for now, but there will be an update soon on some more recent acquisitions in the book library, featured in our last display of this academic year.

Harriet Lam

New Temporary Display at the V&A: Research on Paintings: Technical Art History & Connoisseurship

17 December 2012 – 22 September 2013

The Embarkation of St Helena to the Holy Land. Tintoretto

The Embarkation of St Helena to the Holy Land; Oil painting, Tintoretto Tintoretto (1519-1594) Venice Ca. 1555 (c)Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The following exhibition may be of interest to Courtauld students, especially those in the Conservation and Technology Department. The V&A is holding a temporary display looking at recent research on some of the Museum’s European paintings- in particular 11 Italian, French and Netherlandish paintings created between the early 15th and early 19th centuries- including work by Tintoretto. During a recent research programme that lasted 2 years, 200 of the museum’s paintings, were, as they say on their site, re-attributed or re-identified.

The culmination of this research is this display, which goes into detail on the methods and techniques used by researchers to examine the oil paintings, connoisseurship (i.e. close examination,) ‘documentary research and technical analysis.’ The 11 paintings featured act as case studies to provide a ‘step-by-step’ introduction to technical art history and conservation. Interestingly, the paintings will also be displayed with X-radiographs and infra-red photographs. This display is free and open to all. It is held in the Julie and Robert Breckman Prints & Drawings Gallery, Room 90. Please see for more information.

Other useful links

V&A Conservation Journal Online

(The most recent issue can be found here:

Preserving intangible integrity

The conservation and technical examination of Bernadino Fungai’s Virgin and Child with Two Saints

Oil Painting: Materials and Techniques

New Book Display

The first New Book Display of the term has an eclectic mix of material and we have chosen a few of the highlights to share with you. For those of you new to the concept, the New Books Display comprises of three stands: Books, UK Exhibition Catalogues and International Exhibition Catalogues. It is a show case of the newest editions to the expanding collections at the Courtauld Book Library.

On this month’s book stand there is a range of material from Photographs from the war in Afghanistan to Painting in nineteenth century Hungary. Two highlights from the stand are Colour Moves: Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay. This book “focuses not only on her art but also on the Avant-Garde fashion design from her own Atelier Simultane in Paris during the 1920s as well as textiles she designed for the Metz & Co. department store in Amsterdam in the 1930s.” This beautiful book showcases her drawing, painting and fashion designs through full bleed and cut to white reproductions of her work. The design of the book displays the clean cut graphic nature of her work and will be of interest to anyone looking at early to mid-twentieth century fashion and textile design.

On a more modern note, the widely recognised artist, Ai WeiWei’s latest book is also on the new book stand. Ai WeiWei’s Blog: Writings, Interviews and Digital Rants, 2006-2009. “For more than three years, Ai WeiWei turned out a steady stream of scathing social commentary, criticism of government policy, thoughts on art and architecture, and autobiographical writings.” This book is a perhaps a view of things to come, when looking at the commentary on all subjects that artists are making, via digital technologies. The digital age is transforming many aspects of our lives and how we communicate and this compilation of writings from Ai WeiWei are a nice example of how we can examine the thought processes of artists expressed in the self-publishing world of blogging.

The catalogue for The Spanish line: drawings from Ribera to Picasso can be found on the UK exhibition catalogues stand. This small volume has prints of the variety of drawings by Spanish artists currently exhibited in the Courtauld Gallery. This stand also holds the catalogues for the other exciting shows taking place in London. Degas and the ballet: picturing movement takes a new look at the artist’s characteristic studies of dancers. The catalogue is illustrated with the drawings, pastels, paintings, sculpture and also – “establishing the importance of early visual technologies to Degas’s work for the first time” – photographs taken by the artist and samples of contemporary film.

Taking place at the V&A at the moment, Postmodernism: style and subversion, 1970-1990 continues their programme of ‘grand narratives’ of twentieth-century style and takes a look at all aspects of postmodernist design. The vibrant catalogue brings together architecture, fashion, film, music, interiors and urban planning, and demonstrates the complexity and contradiction of postmodernism. The catalogue’s 20-year span follows the movement from its beginnings on the periphery to being the dominant visual style before inevitably collapsing in on itself.

The new book display also shows the wealth of varied exhibitions taking place worldwide; we currently have three exciting catalogues from New York’s Metropolitan Museum alone. Infinite Jest: caricature and satire from Leonardo to Levine draws from the Metropolitan’s collections of drawings and prints to explore humour in art from the Italian Renaissance to the present. The catalogue examines how paper and printmaking allowed caricature to flourish and how the visual language of satire has “remained surprisingly consistent over time.”

Stieglitz and his artists: Matisse to O’Keeffe showcases and examines the collection of Alfred Stieglitz, a master photographer in his own right and a collector and promoter of some of the biggest names in the early twentieth-century art world. Wonder of the Age: Master Painters of India 1100 – 1900 is a beautifully illustrated catalogue which “sets out to dispel the conventional view of Indian painting as an anonymous activity” by featuring 110 works by the most eminent Indian painters, many of whom are named for the first time thanks to recent scholarship.

There are many more interesting books and catalogues recently acquired by the Book Library on the New Book Display so take a look next time you’re in the library. The displays are changed regularly and we’ll keep you updated when this happens.

Anna Casey and Jennifer Laurenson
Graduate Trainee Library Assistants