Monday, May 14, 2012

Annigoni Books

Pietro Annigoni
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II (detail)
image courtesy of Michael John Angel

As the response to a recent blog post dealing with Pietro Annigoni proved, there is still a strong interest in the Italian master's paintings among today's young artists.  But for those wishing to see more works by Annigoni, there is an unfortunate dearth of sources.  There are of course online images, including those on view at the Anngoni Museum website, but for those of us who still prefer art books, there are few options.

Currently in print are two books available from, Painting with Annigoni: A Halcyon Decade by Dawn Cookson, and Annigoni: Catalogo della mostra, a 2011 re-print of the June 2000 show catalog from Florence.  The first of these is an account of the author's time spent with Annigoni, though there is apparently less attention paid to Annigoni's paintings and technique than most readers would prefer, and the second is $95, a price beyond the comfort zone of most young art-lovers.  In California, however, there is a small innovative art gallery which has been making efforts to bring books on subjects like Annigoni to America – books with strong image content, and at prices which are more affordable to the average enthusiast.  

Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California, the group responsible for importing these books, has been mentioned several times on this blog, most often in the What's on View section.  Their exhibits, which celebrate the private works of contemporary illustrators, frequently center on popular themes such as Harry Potter, Dr. Seuss, and Where the Wild Things Are, and when the illustrators are let loose in these shows, the results are fantastic.  Recently, the gallery held the much publicized showing of Justin Gerard's tribute to J.R.R. Tolkein's The Silmarillion.

One of the services Gallery Nucleus provides in addition to its shows, is a bookshop, filled not only with catalogs of their exhibits, but also with special offer books geared to their audience.  The books are printed in China, with Chinese text (what little text there is) and cover subjects popular with realist artists. Topics include Antonio Lopez, Ivan Kramskoy, Andrew Wyeth, Vilhelm Hammershøi, Nicolai Fechin, Anders Zorn, and an entire series of painting and drawing books focussing on the Repin State Academic Institute in Russia.

On Pietro Annigoni, Gallery Nucleus offers three books.  The main book is a hardcover with 210 pages, offered at $64.95.  Unfortunately, the title has proven to be so popular that the book has been sold out (the website gives the opportunity to request sold-out items to be re-stocked, and, providing they can be obtained, Gallery Nucleus will import more).  They also offer a paperback, 48 page book on his paintings for $24.95, and a paperback, 50 page book on his drawings, also for $24.95.  Sample pages from all three books can be seen on Gallery Nucleus' website, as well as sample pages from all of the books they offer.

I have purchased two books so far from the gallery.  One was the Profile Drawing book from the Repin State Academic Institute, which is also unfortunately now sold out, and the 238 page, hardcover book on Zorn, which I mentioned earlier on this blog.  I have been happy with both purchases, and will likely be ordering from them again soon.

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