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:

MoMA Puts Pol­lock, Rothko & de Koon­ing on Your iPad

Google “Art Project” Brings Great Paint­ings & Muse­ums to You

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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