(livres d'artistes)

"I make no difference between the construction of a book and that of a painting" Henri Matisse

The pages from books by major artists displayed on the following twenty pages in are from some of the most important Modern Illustrated Books (not to be confused with "artists' books" which do not contain original etchings, lithographs or woodcuts).

These pages are followed by a list of many other remarkable books illustrated by other artists. has been created to offer an overview of the history of Modern Illustrated Books.

The work of painters and sculptors in the genre called Modern Illustrated Books may well be one of the best-kept secrets of modern art. The most imaginative modern artists sought and seized opportunities to expand the focus of their artistic expression. The quest for new horizons extended to such movements as Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism and Surrealism. The techniques of book illustration - etchings, lithographs, woodcuts and sometimes linoleum cuts and pochoir - were perfect outlets for further expression by great artists. While illustrated books range from early illuminated manuscripts to the more secular images of Albrecht Dürer, Francisco Goya, William Blake and Honoré Daumier, Modern Illustrated Books (livres d'artistes) are a more recent development. Modern Illustrated Books refers to the special creation that results from the collaboration or combination of writers and artists. The books may have bound pages or loose signatures, but the graphics must be original and done specifically to accompany the text. Ambroise Vollard and D.H. Kahnweiler found contemporary writers/poets or ancient texts to combine with artists they represented and Modern Illustrated Books were released in larger numbers. The one unchanging variable is that the art is never less important than the text and often more important. These books may be ""read" but mostly, they must be "seen." The knowledge of Modern Illustrated Books has always been limited to relatively few art lovers. They are small treasures, not easily displayed as one can paintings and sculptures. Yet they are major artistic expressions of their creators. Prints and Modern Illustrated Books are in many ways interchangeable. Dealers often remove prints from books and sell them separately in their shops or at auction. Museums often display individual prints removed from books and hang them on their walls. The public often does not know the connection. The rarity of many Modern Illustrated Books is unquestionable. will enlighten those not familiar with the Modern Illustrated Book and may help to create a keen new interest in this form of artistic expression.