Artist books are often hand-printed books or books printed in small, limited editions. The smaller the edition number, the more rare the artist book becomes. These books sometimes include original signed lithographs, serigraphs or etchings. For older artists books, the text is often done with a letterpress. In cases where the artist’s prints are very valuable, some collector’s will sell pages or prints from the book individually.
Parler Seul. Joan Miró. 1948-50. Lithography
Derriere le Miroir. Der Blaue Reiter. 1962. Lithography
Les Chiens on Soif. Max Ernst and Jacques Prevert. Limited Edition with Signed, Color Etchings. 1964
Arts books have been made by artists around the world, throughout a number of artistic movements. Examples can be found from Old Masters, German Expressionists, French Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, DADA, Surrealists, etc. A wide range of popular artist’s created artist books including: Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Matisse and Andy Warhol.
In the Bottom of My Garden. Andy Warhol. Offset lithography, hand colored. 1956
Le Chant des Morts. Pablo Picasso. 1945-48. Illustrated book with 123 lithographs.
The value of an artist book varies depending on the number of books printed, the condition of the book and the popularity of the artist. The current record sale for a rare book was set by Jon James Audubon’s The Birds of America, purchased by the Sheikh Saud Al-Thani of Qatar for 8.8 million dollars.