More than anything, I love to learn and am constantly adding to my own library. When clients and friends ask for book recommendations on art, I like to point them to the basics first. Here is a short list of essentials that cover art history, a little bit of theory, the fundamentals of the art market and a really nifty guide to deciphering 'ArtSpeak". 


To jumpstart your own art library,  Phaidon has bundled a great starter selection for you. GENIUS.

The Story of Art: Luxury Edition: Exquisite cloth-bound edition of the classic art-history text – the perfect gift for every art connoisseur and student.

Vitamin P3: The next installment in the popular Vitamin series - the world's hottest painters, selected by international expert.

The Art Book: An accessible A–Z guide to artists from medieval times to the present day.

Painting Beyond Pollock: A lively and accessible history of European and American painting from the mid-20th century onwards.

Body of Art: The first book to celebrate the beautiful and provocative ways artists have represented, scrutinized and utilized the body over centuries.

Art Cities of the Future: Forget New York, London and Paris – the old establishment is being challenged by a new order of art communities seizing the contemporary art agenda around the world.

Art in Time: An up-to-date guide to the most significant art styles and movements from the present to antiquity.

Art & Place: The most spectacular, uplifting and outstanding examples of site-specific art in the Americas.

Cave Art: A comprehensive, accessible guide to prehistoric art in Europe and beyond.

The Elements of Sculpture: The essential viewer’s guide to experiencing sculpture.

The 21st-Century Art Book: A complement to the landmark The Art Book, The 21st-Century Art Book is an accessible guide to the best of contemporary art made since 2000.

Sculpture Today: A comprehensive and beautifully illustrated overview of contemporary sculpture.

Wild Art: From pimped cars and graffiti to extreme body art, ice sculpture and flash mobs, this book has them all.

Art Theory

An Anthology of Changing Ideas says it all. Art in Theory 1900 - 1900 is the companion book to Art in Theory 1648-1815 and Art in Theory 1815-1900. A complete survey of the theories underpinning the development of art in the modern period.

Visual Arts

In it's Seventh Edition, The Visual Arts: A History is an authoritative survey of up-to-date and wide-ranging history of art available in a single volume. 

Art of the 20th Century

Taschen's Art of the 20th Century is your be-all, end-all guide to art of the 20th century

Contemporary Art

 Written by eight of the most highly respected curators working today, Defining Contemporary Art, tells the story of two hundred pivotal artworks from the past quarter century.

Michael Findlay

I really like Michael Findlay's book, The Value of Art: Money, Power, Beauty and recommend it for new clients who are interested in collecting art. It breaks down the contributing elements, including commercial, social and essential qualities that determine the value of an art work in an easy to digest guide.   

Art Speak

We have all picked up and then immediately put down the onerous gallery press release. Laden with International Art English or ArtSpeak, art writing gets a bad wrap. In it's third edition, critic Robert Atkins defines various terms and ideas in ArtSpeak: A Guide to Contemporary Ideas, Movements, and Buzzwords, 1945 to the Present. This is a great reference for beginners and seasoned professionals.   

Ossian Ward

Author Ossian Warn is Head of Content at the Lisson Gallery and one of Britain's best known art critics. Ways of Looking: How to Experience Contemporary Art provides a straightforward guide to understanding contemporary art based on the concept of the tabula rasa – a clean slate and a fresh mind.

Susie Hodge

I have no idea if this book is any good, I just really like the title.. Why Your 5 Year Old Could Not Have Done That is Susie Hodges passionate and persuasive argument against the most common disparaging remark levelled at modern art.