The Best of Both Worlds:

Finely Printed Livres d’Artistes, 1910–2010

Artists’ books always contain art, and the art often serves as the primary reason for the book’s existence. And the history of bookmaking, since the Gutenberg Bible, contains examples of books whose typographic and design excellence is immediately apparent and beyond dispute, but which contain no art. Occasionally, the two worlds intersect and overlap, resulting in books as noteworthy for their artwork as their printing, as praiseworthy for their artistic content as their design and manufacturing. In this full color selection of 77 books from Europe and the Americas, the authors select, and comment upon, the “best of both worlds”: books whose pages reveal the best graphic work of the past century; artwork from the hands of masters as diverse as Braque, Calder, Dine, Hockney, Mapplethorpe, Matisse, Maillol, Picasso, Oldenburg and Rivers—coupled with memorable texts orchestrated by the best designers, printers, and binders.

At once a visual feast and a provocative tour through well- and lesser-known titles, the primary thesis this book suggests is that one world does not have to be sacrificed at the expense of the other. In the hands of expert collaborators, a book can incorporate the best of both worlds—the artistic and the bibliophilic—to provide a vehicle that both exalts the contents and celebrates the messages.

All four authors have been professionally involved with the history, design, and production of books for decades—Jerry Kelly as a prominent book designer, Riva Castleman and Anne Hoy as authors, editors, and curators, and Peter Strauss as a printer and collector.

Jerry Kelly is a calligrapher, book designer, and type designer. Before starting his own design business in 1998, Kelly was Vice President of The Stinehour Press, preceded by a decade as designer at A. Colish. Kelly’s work has been honored numerous times, and his book designs have been selected more than thirty times for the AIGA “Fifty Books of the Year.” In 2015 he was presented with the 28th Goudy Award from RIT.

Kelly has served as Chairman of the American Printing History Association, President of The Typophiles, and an active member of several committees at The Grolier Club. He has written many articles as well as several books on calligraphy and typography, including The Noblest Roman: The Centaur Types (co-authored with Misha Beletsky; winner of the 2016 Bibliographical Society of America Prize) and, most recently, Type Revivals.

Riva Castleman was an American art historian, art curator, and author who is credited with promoting the mediums of printmaking and illustrated books as serious forms of fine art. From 1976–95 she was Director of the Department of Prints and Illustrated Books at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.

Anne H. Hoy is the author of six books on camera art, modern design, and popular culture. A former curator at the International Center of Photography, she is also an editor of art books and exhibition texts for the New York Historical Society and Rizzoli, among other publishers. She has taught the history of modern art at NYUSPS since 1995 and holds an advanced degree in art history from NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts.

Peter Strauss is a founding president of the New York printing company Pilgrim Press, the oldest surviving publishing operation in North America. He is also one of the world’s most accomplished collectors of the modern illuminated manuscripts called livres d’artistes. Over three decades of collecting – beginning in his fifties – he amassed over one hundred of these valuable illustrated books.