booksmARTs! Selections

Members Exclusive

We meet at 7 p.m. at the FCAL gallery on the dates indicated.  All members of FCAL are welcome to join us for any or all of our lively discussions.

You may click on any book cover to order a copy from Amazon.com


November 7, 2018

Broad Strokes, 15 Women Who Made Are and History (In That Order)
Author: Bridget Quinn

Historically, major women artists have been excluded from the mainstream art canon. Aligned with the resurgence of feminism in pop culture, Broad Strokes offers an entertaining corrective to that omission. Art historian Bridget Quinn delves into the lives and careers of 15 brilliant female artists in text that's smart, feisty, educational, and an enjoyable read. Replete with beautiful reproductions of the artists' works and contemporary portraits of each artist by renowned illustrator Lisa Congdon, this is art history from 1600 to the present day for the modern art lover, reader, and feminist.


January 2, 2019

A Generous Vision: The Creative Life of Elaine deKooning
Author: Cathy Curtis

The first biography of Elaine de Kooning, A Generous Vision portrays a woman whose intelligence, droll sense of humor, and generosity of spirit endeared her to friends and gave her a starring role in the close-knit world of New York artists. Her zest for adventure and freewheeling spending were as legendary as her ever-present cigarette. 

Flamboyant and witty in person, she was an incisive art writer who expressed maverick opinions in a deceptively casual style. As a painter, she melded Abstract Expressionism with a lifelong interest in bodily movement to capture subjects as diverse as President John F. Kennedy, basketball players, and bullfights. 

In her romantic life, she went her own way, always keen for male attention. But she credited her husband, Willem de Kooning, as her greatest influence; rather than being overshadowed by his fame, she worked "in his light." Nearly two decades after their separation, after finally embracing sobriety herself, she returned to his side to rescue him from severe alcoholism. 

Based on painstaking research and dozens of interviews, A Generous Vision brings to life a leading figure of twentieth-century art who lived a full and fascinating life on her own terms.


March 6, 2019

Art and Physics
Author: Leonard Shlair

Art interprets the visible world. Physics charts its unseen workings. The two realms seem completely opposed. But consider that both strive to reveal truths for which there are no words––with physicists using the language of mathematics and artists using visual images. In Art & Physics, Leonard Shlain tracks their breakthroughs side by side throughout history to reveal an astonishing correlation of visions. From the classical Greek sculptors to Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, and from Aristotle to Einstein, artists have foreshadowed the discoveries of scientists, such as when Monet and Cezanne intuited the coming upheaval in physics that Einstein would initiate. In this lively and colorful narrative, Leonard Shlain explores how artistic breakthroughs could have prefigured the visionary insights of physicists on so many occasions throughout history. Provocative and original, Art & Physics is a seamless integration of the romance of art and the drama of science––and an exhilarating history of ideas.


May 1, 2019

Secret Lives of Color
Author: Kassia St. Clair

The Secret Lives of Color tells the unusual stories of seventy-five fascinating shades, dyes and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso’s blue period to the charcoal on the cave walls at Lascaux, acid yellow to kelly green, and from scarlet women to imperial purple, these surprising stories run like a bright thread throughout history.

In this book, Kassia St. Clair has turned her lifelong obsession with colors and where they come from (whether Van Gogh’s chrome yellow sunflowers or punk’s fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilization. Across fashion and politics, art and war, the secret lives of color tell the vivid story of our culture.


July 3, 2019

Entwined: Sisters and Secrets in the Silent World of Artist Judith Scott
Author: Joyce Wallace Scott.

From birth, fraternal twins Judith and Joyce Scott lived as if they were one person in two bodies, understanding instinctively what the other wanted and felt, despite the fact that Judy had Down syndrome, profound deafness, and never learned to speak or sign. But this idyllic childhood of color, texture, and feeling ended abruptly when, at age seven, Judy was taken from their shared bed while Joyce slept, not knowing that the wholeness they had known was being shattered.


For the next three decades, Joyce is left without her other half and must grieve unexpected loss while navigating her relationship with an emotionally distant mother—alone. Even so, her life parallels her twin’s in surprising ways. While in college, Joyce too is sent away, pressured to relinquish the secret daughter she bore in hiding to adoption.

Decades later, Joyce resolves to reunite with her sister and fill their remaining years with joy. After overcoming legal hurdles to become Judy’s legal guardian, she enrolls her in an art center for adults with disabilities in Oakland, California. Judy is hesitant at first, but after two years of uninterested painting and drawing, her untapped creativity suddenly ignites when she is introduced to fiber art, and she begins carefully and intentionally winding yarn and other materials around combinations of found objects. With unflagging intensity, Judy works five days a week for the next eighteen years, producing more than two-hundred astoundingly diverse fiber sculptures. Unconcerned with her growing fame, she remains fully immersed in her artistic vision until her death in 2005. Today, Judith Scott’s work is displayed in museums and galleries around the world, in some of the most prestigious collections of contemporary art.

Entwined is a penetrating personal narrative that explores a complex world of disability, loss, reunion, and the resiliency of the human spirit. Part memoir, part biography, Entwinedis a poignant and astonishing story about sisters finding their voices in each other’s love and through art.


September 4, 2019

Rogue’s Gallery: The Rise and Occasional Fall of Art Dealers

Author: Philip Hook

Here for the first time is the history of art dealers, those extraordinary men and women who, over centuries (and almost entirely out of the public eye), built their profession on a singular skill: identifying the intangible but infinitely desirable qualities that characterize the greatest works of art - and finding clients for whom those qualities are irresistible.

Philip Hook's riveting narrative takes us from the early days of art dealing in Antwerp, where paintings were sold by weight, to the unassailable hauteur of contemporary galleries in New York, London, Paris, and beyond. Along the way, we meet a surprisingly wide-ranging cast of characters-from tailors, spies, and the occasional anarchist to scholars, aristocrats, and connoisseurs, some compelled by greed, some by their own vision of art - and some by the art of the deal. Among them are Joseph Duveen, who almost single-handedly brought the Old Masters to America; Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, high priest of Cubism; and Peter Wilson, the charismatic Sotheby's chairman who made a theater of the auction room.

Rogues' Gallery bursts with unforgettable anecdotes and astute judgments about art and artists, honed by Hook's more than 40 years in the art market - making it essential listening for anyone interested in the hidden history of art.


November 6, 2019

Gilded: How Newport Became America’s Richest Resort
Author: Deborah Davis

A beautifully written history of high society in Newport, Rhode Island, from the acclaimed author of Party of the Century

Newport is the legendary and beautiful home of American aristocracy and the sheltered super-rich. Many of the country's most famous blueblood families?the closest thing we have to royalty?have lived and summered in Newport since the nineteenth century.

The Astors, the Vanderbilts, Edith Wharton, JFK and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Doris Duke, and Claus and Sunny von Bulow are just a few of the many names who have called the city home. Gilded takes you along as you explore the fascinating heritage of the Newport elite, from its first colonists to the newest of its new millennium millionaires, showing the evolution of a town intent on living in its own world. Through a narrative filled with engrossing characters and lively tales of untold extravagance, Davis brings the resort to life and uncovers the difference between rich and Newport rich along the way.

  • An engrossing multigenerational saga that tells the real story of the rich and famous in Newport

  • Vibrant, praiseworthy writing: ""[Davis] brings splendidly colorful behind-the-scenes action and players up front"" (the New York Times on Party of the Century)

  • 34 evocative black-and-white photographs

Written with insight and dramatic flair, Gilded gives you a rare peek into the cloistered coastal playground of America's moneyed elite.