Frank Lloyd Wright: The Buildings - Alan Weintraub

Can it be more than 50 years since the Guggenheim Museum opened? Yes, the gorgeous spread of the Museum in Frank Lloyd Wright: The Buildings (Rizzoli, $75) comes late in the book, with others of Wright’s most celebrated buildings: Beth Shalom in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, and the Marin County Civic Center in California. This is a wonderful compendium of all of Wright’s completed buildings, a companion volume to Frank Lloyd Wright: The Houses, published three years ago. We owe Alan Weintraub (photos) and Alan Hess (text) gratitude for their work. 

Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, 1926-1933- Joan Simon, Brigitte Leal

Paul Klee famously described his artistic method as “taking a line for a walk.” Sculptor Alexander Calder charmingly walked his line into the third dimension. The exhibit (now at the Whitney Museum) and its catalog, Alexander Calder: The Paris Years, 1926-1933 (Whitney/Centre Pompidou/Yale Univ., $60)—written and edited by co-curators Joan Simon and Brigitte Leal—demonstrates how Calder made crucial stylistic breakthroughs during his sojourn overseas. A genius with wire and pliers, he created portraits of friends and celebrities. He showed a special affinity for animals, and his Circus—movable beasts and performers made of wire, cloth, and wood—was the hit of Paris. Later, Calder created his first delicate, abstract mobiles and stabiles there. This is an inspiring book, bursting with creative joy.

Louvre: 400 Masterpieces - Daniel Soulié

Can’t make it to Paris anytime soon?  No worries, simply open the pages of Louvre: 400 Masterpieces (Abrams, $40) and take a stroll through the halls of the Louvre without being pressed for time or plagued with aching feet.  Daniel Soulié, a Louvre historian, has designed the book to approximate an actual trip to the museum, with each chapter representing one of the nine Louvre departments. So take your time and enjoy the rich reproductions.   The works depicted in this book were randomly selected, so you may be surprised at what you see and what you don’t see (e.g., no Mona Lisa).