Free: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Offer 474 Free Art Books Online

art of illumination

If you like reading about visual art but don’t like spending the considerable sums required to build your own library of vintage exhibition catalogues, feel free to borrow from another collector. Or rather, feel free to borrow from two collectors, both based in New York, both of some repute: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Early last year, we announced that the Guggenheim had made 65 art catalogues [now increased to 99] available for free online, offering “an intellectual and visual introduction to the work of Alexander CalderEdvard MunchFrancis BaconGustav Klimt & Egon Schiele, and Wassily Kandinsky” as well as ” other texts (e.g., Masterpieces of Modern Art and Abstract Expressionists Imagiststhat tackle meta movements and themes.” (That same post includes instructions on how to use the Guggenheim’s archive.)


Late last year, we also announced the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s launch of MetPublications, which will “eventually offer access to nearly all books, Bulletins, and Journals” published by the Met since 1870. The collection now features a whopping 375 free art books and catalogues overall. Taken together, these collections examine in detail art from all eras of human history and all parts of the world. At the top of the post, you will see the cover for the Met’s The Art of Illumination. (Who doesn’t love illuminated Medieval manuscripts?) Below appears Sixty Years of Living Architecture: The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright, available from the Guggenheim. Given the presence of these and the other fascinating catalogues we’ve previously highlighted, word of these two museums’ online libraries certainly shouldn’t stay buried in our archives.

Related Content:

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The History of Western Architecture: From Ancient Greece to Rococo (A Free Online Course)

Download 375 Free eBooks

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on literature, film, cities, Asia, and aesthetics. He’s at work on a book about Los AngelesA Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.

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by | Permalink | Comments (16) |

  • Kim

    This is fabulous! I never knew these were available. Thank you!

  • Jesús Aarón Rodríguez Galván

    I want a artbook please , thanks

  • kusum viswanath

    I am an artist and would love to read more and more about artists, exhibitions etc at the Guggenheim museum, MOMA and The Met.

  • Carolyn Passeneau

    Terrific site and sight! Thank you.

  • Kristie Kulp

    What a great resource! Will definitely be adding these links to my resources folder!

  • Jean Alderson

    Great resources, I can think of lots of ways to use them.

  • GegoTego

    Never really thought about it liek that dude. Makes

  • Don Ryan


  • Hannah Theresa Weyland


  • Twain

    All about ARt…

  • James Briano


  • Elvis Zaimi

    Please, send me all the relevant informations related to this post

  • Claire Branson

    How brill. I just love old manuscripts.

  • Tom Redpath

    Looking forward to hours of viewing art books. Thank you.

  • marlene bisset

    I would love to be able to see The Art of Illumination please.

  • Dinki Sander

    The treasures are worth so much more when shared.