Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Rearranging Art Books

Today I rearranged the art books in my home library.



Before this, I had the monographs segregated in separate sections, the way they do in bookstores and libraries. There was one section for illustrators and another for 19th Century European artists and another old masters and another for children’s book artists.

But I had a feeling that all of my artist heroes would have enjoyed each other’s company if they were sitting together in the same pub. So why not put the books together under one alphabetical listing? They're also much easier to find this way.

Now Hals is rubbing shoulders with Homer, Rockwell is sitting next to Sargent, and Shepard is consorting with Sorolla. I wish I could hear what they’re talking to each other about.

20 comments:

K. W. Broad said...

That would be quite the conversation to sit in on! I'm sure it would be a conversation to remember though.

Hehe, I used to have my artbooks organized by type, alphabetically; but then I had to switch to size and weight, heaviest books on the ends, lightest ones in the center, to keep the shelf from bowing inward!

Paolo Rivera said...

That's how I keep mine... except for comic books. I tend to keep them together because they're almost all the same size.

meredith d. said...

In a recent issue of Martha Stewart, one of her editors organized his books by color. Maybe impractical, but it looks neat!

There is a photo here:

http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/behind-the-scenes?lnc=bf89cf380e1dd010VgnVCM1000005b09a00aRCRD&rsc=lpg_crafts&lpgStart=1&currentslide=25&currentChapter=1

Campbell said...

My partner and I have recently rearranged our book collection and she came up with the brilliant idea of sorting them by colour.

I was reluctant at first, but when she asked me how I remember how a book looks on the shelf I had to reply "by colour and size".

It's been working great so far.

Andrew Wales said...

I would like to see a photo of the whole library -- I bet you have a ton of books!

Andrew Wales said...

Meredith, I'd agree from the photo you referred to that the books on display in that way definitely look more visually appealing! My books sometimes look like a jumbled up mess on the shelf. I don't always remember what color a book was on the spine, though.

Jen Z said...

Supposing you've read all your books, (and judging by the content of this blog, you have) couldn't you already assume that this blos is the result of their conversations with one another in the vast confines of your (and our?) mind(s)?
I guess it's also interesting to imagine, too. I wish I had enough books to warrant organisation (moving overseas has made me miss a lot of books) but generally I organise by author and then size depending on the provided shelving. I look forward to taking more care to arrange my books when I move in the next few months.

Michael Dooney said...

It actually never occurred to me to put them in alphabetical order...since my books are my personal world and I'm the only person who needs to find anything, I have a peculiar "sections" system. Painters here, illustrators there, how to books there, reference books over there etc

marybullock2 said...

I, too, would love to see a photo of your whole library and maybe a list of your most loved or most referred to books. Love all the ideas about how to organize our books - I just moved into a new house and need to organize my books now.
Mary
The Figurative Realm of Mary Bullock

Raluca C said...

just to wish you a good New Year 2009,with plenty of muses and inspiration(and take a look for new precious posts:))...well,but just because you rearanged your art books and everybody shared a bit of their own way to arrange them,I must say,my books(1/4 in Denmark-3/4 in Romania)are in a totally chaotic-''order''...and unfortunatelly when I rearrange them..well...I get confused.I saw that idea of arranging them after color became very popular..maybe I should try..

Daroo said...

I remember reading that the young art student, Norman Rockwell, drew the professional model Olimpio Fusco. Fusco had posed for Sargent when he was a younger man:

jssgallery.org/Paintings/Mugs
/Head_of_Olimpio_Fusco.htm

Rockwell and the other art students would ply Fusco with questions about Sargent's working technique during model breaks.

Its fun to think of Norman Rockwell as a Fanboy.

James Gurney said...

Daroo, you get the prize for the coolest piece of trivia. Thanks! I also remember reading that Rockwell hung out with Caruso during his opera performances. I'd love to be a fly on the wall for those conversations.

innisart said...

Aha! The Stanhope Forbes & The Newlyn School book... is it good? I've been looking around for it at a good price, but I was going to buy it sight unseen. How do you rate it?

The Dantan book was pretty good, BTW. I found a copy in Canada.

http://underpaintings.blogspot.com/2008/12/douard-joseph-dantan-1848-1897.html

Julia Lundman said...

i arrange mine by era.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

I'd love to take a peek at your shelves!

I arrange my techniques books by type (colour, light, composition, drawing etc) and my artists by alphabet.

Well that's the theory - I've actually run out of shelving (in a big way!) and am currently contemplating a major exercise to shelve a whole wall so I can get my books off the floor/the tops of bookcases/the top of other books.....

What was interesting recently was I found myself sorting the piles of books which aren't on shelves so I can still find things!

Liddy said...

As both an artist and a librarian in an art library, it's fascinating to see how everyone chooses to arrange their own personal book collections. Mine at home are very loosely by author and subject, constricted by shelf height... barely at all like the system we use in the library!

James Gurney said...

Liddy, yes, I think any home library is a map of the mind of its owner. My library and my computer desktop are usually totally disorganized, which is a bad sign!

Chris Jouan Illustration said...

I think it's cool that you took the needs of your books into account! So few people really consider the well being of their reading/reference material!

Parka said...

I don't arrange mine. They are placed wherever there is space. Not that I have that many to start with.

白丹娜 said...

I tend to arrange my bookshelves according to aesthetics in terms of height and width. I am constantly vexed by strangely-sized books that throw off my lovely plateaus of paperbacks.

You have a book about Hals, you say? Would you mind passing along the title? He's one of my favorite artists ever, and I've been searching for a good book on him for ages with no luck!

-Dana