Arts & Culture

December Reading List

This winter, five visual books share lesser-known stories and rare images—a family art feud, more than one hundred locked lips, a feast of festive glassware, stunning early maps, and a truly remarkable Southern jewelry collection
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Ida O’Keeffe: Escaping Georgia’s Shadow, edited by Sue Canterbury

Georgia O’Keeffe might have gotten the international attention for her larger-than-life floral artwork, but kid sister Ida was an accomplished painter as well. In a new exhibition, the Dallas Museum of Art explores the story of why Georgia purposefully outshone her sibling, and shares fifty of Ida’s watercolors, paintings, prints, and drawings. This book serves as an exhibition catalogue as well as the first publication devoted to bringing Ida Ten Eyck O’Keeffe to light.

Ida and Georgia O’Keeffe, 1924. By Alfred Stieglitz.

Photo: National Gallery of Art, Washington, Alfred Stieglitz Collection

People Kissing: A Century of Photographs, by Barbara Levine and Paige Ramey

Two Houston-based artists and vintage photo collectors share more than one hundred snapshots of folks throughout history delicately locking lips, leaning in for a peck, and all-out snogging. This is the next book in the series after the previous—and very charming—People Fishing.

Photographer unknown, ca. 1945. Collection of Barbara Levine / Project B. Photograph from People Kissing.

The Decanter: Ancient to Modern, by Andy McConnell

The long-serving glass specialist on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow shares an entirely updated edition of his book after twenty years of further research. The work shares, in words and pictures, the history of the decanter, from its origins in ancient Mesopotamia to its current-day home—filled with wine, bourbon, scotch, or any other favorite poisons—on so many Southern sideboards and bars.

Theater of the World: The Maps that Made History, by Thomas Reinertsen Berg

This beautiful collection of historic maps will resonate with folks prone to wanderlust and those longing for a sense of place. A Norwegian journalist mines the human desire to explore while sharing lush cartography from the Stone Age to the age of exploration to modern satellite imagery.

A world map from 1570, included in the first modern atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum which, when translated, gave author Thomas Reinertsen Berg the title of his book Theater of the World: The Maps that Made History.

Photo: Library of Congress

Jean Schlumberger: The Rachel Lambert Mellon Collection from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

The Southern socialite and tastemaker Bunny Mellon left nearly 150 pieces of rare jewelry to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts before her death in 2014. This exhibition catalog shares background and images of the sparkling pieces in conjunction with a traveling exhibition, Jewels of the Imagination: Radiant Masterworks by Jean Schlumberger from the Mellon Collection that runs December 15 through March 2019 at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida. See photos from the book and show here.

Leaves necklace, 1956. Turquoise, diamonds, 18-karat gold, and platinum. All pieces by designer Jean Schlumberger, French, 1907–1987. Click here for a gallery showcasing Mellon’s fine jewelry collection.