The Power of the Art Book


Art books have more than just pretty pictures to offer consumers and industry professionals. They fill an important niche in the art market, and their benefits are as varied as the art-related titles found on the Web sites of Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Art books are an invaluable way to learn about and share art, and for the savvy art dealer or collector, books can provide a unique entry point into the world of collecting art. On the business end, having works displayed in the pages of art books can bring added success to artists, publishers and galleries.

Simply put: Books are an other opportunity to show published work, according to Robert Patrick, director of marketing and wholesale for Linda Jones Enterprises. "Everyone loves to say their art is published, and collectors appreciate that bragging right as well," he says. "A book of an artist that you represent acts as a catalog of their work and offers added value to the collector. It also opens the door for continued collecting, which is an invaluable sales tool."

Woody Slaymaker, owner of Chicago-based Slaymaker Fine Art Ltd., has a complete library of art books on the fourth floor of his business above his gallery. "I have an art library, and occasionally when selling to a customer. I'll go up and research things," Slaymker says. "If I want to show a client the similarity between a contemporary artist whose work has been influenced by older artists, the books help me show this to the customer and sell art."

Among Slaymaker's favorite art books housed in his library are the Museum of Modern Art Series on the masters,including "Composition in Art" by Henry Rankin Poore, which Slaymaker says is good for studying balance; "Gardner's Art through the Ages" by Fred S. Kleiner and Christin J. Mamiya, which has many resources according to Slaymaker, and many others.

"I buy art every day, and how well I buy art determines my success or failure as a dealer, so if I don't study what I buy. then I am making a huge mistake." Slaymaker says. "what kind of writer would you be if you never learned to read? What kind of artist can you be if you don't know what those who are great did for you?"


-Jane Hart
Dec 2007




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