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Curator’s Thoughts: Looking For A Book To Read?

To be honest, I haven’t had time to chill out with a book since this all began for us in the North Country about three weeks ago. In the time before, I was dipping in and out of two books on Leonardo da Vinci (both available on Kindle):

  • Walter Isaacson, Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Martin Kemp and Guiseppe Pallanti, Mona Lisa.

I pre-ordered the final volume of Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy, The Mirror & the Light, but have yet to crack it open.

Our friends at Crandall Public Library have available for free download a number of books on art. Below, I list fifteen you might like. Click here to access the Crandall Public Library’s website. Don’t worry if you don’t have a library card, you can apply for a temporary card online.


  • Anthony Bond, The Idea of Art.  The story of how an Australian museum went about collecting contemporary art. They didn’t have the good fortune of generous donors like Werner Feibes and Jim Schmitt.


Paul Cézanne (French, 1839 – 1906), Trees, ca. 1885, Graphite and watercolor, (16 3/4 × 13 3/4 in.), The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY, Bequest of Charlotte Pruyn Hyde, 1971.62
  • Cezanne.  


Leonardo da Vinci (After), (Italian, 1452 – 1519), Study of the Mona Lisa, ca. 1503, Charcoal and graphite on laid paper,  (31 9/16 x 26 7/8 x 2 1/4 in.) The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY, Gift of Charlotte Pruyn Hyde, 1971.71
  • Kenneth Clark, Leonardo. Again, a dated book, but Clark is a clear and concise writer.


Henricus Antonius (Han) van Meegeren (Dutch, 1889 – 1947), Girl with Blue Bow, ca. 1924, Gelatin-glue medium and pigment over an obscured 17th-century painting fragment (21 x 18 in.), The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY, Gift of Charlotte Pruyn Hyde, 1971.56


  • Edward Dolnik, The Forger’s SpellThis is the story of the Han Van Meegeren, the Dutch forger, who sold Nazi collectors his fake Vermeers. Even after the war, collectors were misled, as was Mrs. Hyde. But if you can’t have an authentic Vermeer, it’s alright to have an authentic Van Meegeren fake!

Albert Pinkham Ryder (American, 1847 – 1917), Stag in the Forest of Arden, ca. 1897 Oil on canvas, (16 3/8 x 16 5/8 in.) The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY, Bequest of Charlotte Pruyn Hyde, 1971.43


  • Lloyd Goodrich, Albert P. RyderGoodrich’s book is a little old, published in 1959. There are more recent studies available including by the head of the department when I was a student at the University. Of Delaware, William I. Homer. But, if you’re interested in knowing more about the artist in the southeast guest bedroom, you can’t go wrong with reading Goodrich.



Vincent van Gogh, (Dutch, 1853 – 1890), Orchard with Arles in the Background, Date: 1888, Reed pen, pen, ink and graphite on laid paper (28 5/8 x 21 5/8 x 1/2 in.) The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls, NY, Bequest of Charlotte Pruyn Hyde, 1971.81


  • James Grundig, Breaking Van GoghThis is the story of Van Gogh’s time in the Saint-Rémy sanitarium, which he entered a year after executing the drawing in our collection, Orchard with Arles in the Background.
  • The Personal Recollections of Vincent Van Gogh.

Hyde exhibition-related:

  • Art Noveau Ornamentation and Art Nouveau Graphic Masterpieces.Either book will let you relive the pleasure of The Hyde’s Alfonse Mucha show from 2018.
  • Goya’s Disasters of War.If you’re missing the darker more gruesome prints from our current exhibition, FRANCISCO GOYA: LOS CAPRICHOS ETCHINGS AND AQUATINTS, this will suit you well.
  • Robert Henri, The Art SpiritIf you enjoyed our summer exhibition, From the Rooftops: JOHN SLOAN AND THE ART OF THE NEW URBAN SPACE, you might enjoy reading the art criticism of the artist and teacher who influenced him.
  • The Illustrations of Rockwell Kent.You can relive the Kent print exhibition from the summer of 2018. I used this book for research
  • Posada’s Popular Mexican PrintsPrepare for the first Mexican art show at The Hyde, coming next summer (2021) JOSE GUADALUPE POSADA: LEGENDARY PRINTMAKER OF MEXICO.
  • Faith Ringold, A View from the Studio.This will give the reader a good head start for the next two winter shows:  THE HARMON & HARRIET KELLEY COLLECTION OF AFRICAN AMERICAN ART: WORKS ON PAPER in 2021, and Robert Blackburn & Modern American Printmaking in 2022.

    Two great artists we don’t (yet) have in the collection:

    • Andrew Graham-Dixon, Michaelangelo and the Sistine Ceiling.The author is a clear and concise writer who is extremely good at distilling modern scholarship into a highly readable and enjoyable book. He also wrote an excellent book on Caravaggio: Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane (available on Kindle).
    • Sargent’s Portrait DrawingsI saw an exhibition of these graphic portrait drawings at The Morgan Library fairly recently. They are stunning. It is amazing how much presence he can capture and bestow on his sitters working just in pencil. They are no less commanding than his gorgeous painted portraits.

    Written by

    Jonathan P. Canning
    Director of Curatorial Affairs and Programming

    Find more blog posts from Jonathan Canning at Tumblr, @hydecurator.