Will the Fine Art Print Book Survive in the New Media?

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  1. Matisse: “Decorative Figure on an Ornamental Background 1925–26; oil on canvas; 1.3 x0.98 m / 4 ft 3 in x 3 ft 3½ in This canvas celebrates the ornamental elements of Arabic culture. Matisse here disrupts a tradition of the human form as the highest subject by elevating still-life, background and decorative arts to the same level.”

    The Book

    Phaidon, a globally noted publisher has recently announced the release of a new Fine Art print book, The Art Museum.  The book is described below.

“Why buy a mere art book when you could have a museum of your own? A colossal tome that, ranging across continents, periods, and artistic approaches” —The Times

“Visit the world’s most comprehensive and compelling museum in a book – from pre-historic times to the present, – over 1,600 artworks created with the expertise of 28 art world curators and historians. “


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The Book and Fine Art in the New Media

Phaidon has thus far chosen not to produce digital versions of their Fine Art publications, taking pride in their craftmanship in producing excellent print publications. Its use of the New Media for The Art Museum is limited to the web page and a free preview download.

Pictured at the top of this post is a sample page from the book on Matisse with curatorial notes. It does not appear that Phaidon has made full use of the tools of the New Media.



 The Enhanced Fine Art E-Book

The publisher, of Great Impressionist and Post-Impressionist PaintingsArtepublishing states, “there is no museum in the world that has a better collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art than the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The very best of these works are brought together for the first time in an enhanced e-book. The book has been published by Artepublishing solely as an e-book and will not be available in printed form. The book is an outstanding work of scholarship. It is beautifully designed and intuitively interactive.”


There are scalable reproductions of nearly 200 paintings by 26 artists including such favorites as Manet, Monet, Renoir, and Van Gogh; over three hours of original audio information about the artists and their paintings; and more than 500 hyperlinks to some of the best sites on the Internet to learn more about the artists and their work.

The book is an outstanding work of scholarship. It is beautifully designed and intuitively interactive. It is available on iTunes.

The book’s audio commentaries and texts are by Dr. Charles F. Stuckey, one of the world’s foremost scholars on Impressionist art. Dr. Stuckey has held senior curatorial positions at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts; The Art Institute of Chicago; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. He has organized major exhibitions on Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists including exhibitions on Monet, Gauguin, and Toulouse-Lautrec, and written monographs on Monet, Gauguin, Morisot, and Toulouse-Lautrec.

The artists in the book begin with the Salon painter, William Bouguereau, then the realists Daumier, Corot, and Millet, followed by Manet (who was an inspiration to the Impressionists though he never exhibited with them). The focus then turns to the Impressionists such as Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Cassatt, Morisot, and others; and Post-Impressionists including Gauguin, Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Seurat.

Each of the artists has least one featured painting. As part of the e-book enhancement, each painting has an audio commentary by Dr. Stuckey lasting approximately five minutes about the artist, the painting, and the context of the painting. There is also text by Dr. Stuckey about each featured painting.

A further and great feature of the enhanced e-book is that there are between 10 and 30 curated links for each artist and featured painting. These include biographies of the artist, articles about the artist, works by the artist in other museums, artist quotes, videos and even free e-books about the artist. Following the featured works are other paintings by the artist in the d’Orsay.


In a prior post, “ARE INTERACTIVE E-BOOKS ,”E+,” A NEW GENRE? we wrote that  “This book  [Great Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings] is an outstanding example of what can be done in the enhanced e-book format, and an excellent example to print publishers by the Museum and Artepublishing of the tremendous power of enhanced e-books in the New Media. The book is beautifully designed, and couples art and scholarship in a way not possible in the static print and e-book methods of publication.”

September 6, 2017. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday by Jack Dziamba.



2 comments on “Will the Fine Art Print Book Survive in the New Media?

  1. Excellent post. The ebook Great Impressionist and Post Impressionist Paintings can apparently be downloaded for free at


    Possibly irrelevant since it’s only 99¢ on iTunes however a buck’s a buck!

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