This exhibition highlights some of the treasures of the McNay’s book collection which comprises rare volumes, historical texts, and artist-created books. Our collection sheds light on the different functions of some of the world’s greatest books. Wassily Kandinsky created Klänge (Sounds) as a work of art in which he explored his ideas of modernist abstraction. Kara Walker’s Freedom: A Fable is also a stand-alone work of art which explores the African American experience. Other books like the Encyclopédie edited by Denis Diderot, Vitruvius’s Ten Books on Architecture, and George Stubbs’s Anatomy of the Horse are works of art because of their importance in spreading scientific knowledge through compelling imagery and informative texts.
Among the rarely seen masterpieces in the show is the album of richly colored lithographs illustrating the coronation of the Russian Czar Alexander III. The scale of this book, the largest ever printed at the time of its publication in 1856, makes it challenging to show publicly.
The Art of Books is organized for the McNay Art Museum by Lyle W. Williams, Curator of Prints and Drawings, Curator of Modern Art; and Jeremiah Teutsch, Matting and Framing Technician.
Funding is most generously provided by The Jane and Arthur Stieren Fund for Exhibitions.
Since 2011, the Spotlight exhibition series has celebrated the remarkable achievements of student artists reflecting on one work in the McNay collection.…