The Smithsonian Libraries and Archives' physical locations remain temporarily closed. We continue to offer online services through our websites. For information on other Smithsonian museums, research centers and the National Zoo, visit si.edu/museums.
Artists’ Illustrated Books
Artists’ illustrated books (livres d’artistes) are limited edition fine art books usually initiated by a publisher or an author, rather than the artist. The artist may be invited to illustrate a poem or other text. Or the artist creates a portfolio of original prints published by an art dealer or fine art press. This genre, which appeared early in the 20th century and continues today, is notable for the high quality of paper, printing and binding.
The distinction between artists’ books and artists’ illustrated books may lie in the eye of the beholder as much as in formal definitions. Both offer the readers pleasurable visual and tactile experiences.