Artists' Books

"Time," a Dream Book by M. J. Goerke (interior view; reproduced with the permission of the artist)

The University Libraries includes among its holdings an impressive collection of artists' books (very loosely defined as books created consciously as creative works by artists).  Many of them, due to their unique or fragile nature, are housed in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection in Thompson Library, and may be viewed in the Jack and Jan Creighton Special Collections Reading Room.

Fo an initial survey of some of the collection, search the library catalog for the subject "artists' books." 

Some of these items were acquired as part of our standing order to receive all publications of Granary Books.  These may be searched independently under the keyword "Granary Book Collection."

A large number were acquired as part of the Avant Writing Collection, which includes visual poetry and mail art, among other genres.  You may wish to look more closely at some contributors to that collection via the online finding aids.


Artists' Books online

You may wish to peruse some examples online in order to select which artists' works you would like to see in person.

Artists' Books Online
Reed College Artists' Books Collection
The Smithsonian Institution Libraries

See also: The Directory of Artists' Books Collections


Artists as illustrators

RBMS also maintains a standing order for books published by the Arion Press, which are often illustrated by noted artists.  Many other books in our collection have also been illustrated by well-known artists, such as a copy of Ulysses by James Joyce, illustrated by Matisse.  Generally, if you are interested in illustrations by a particular artist it is best to search the artist as "author" rather than as "subject."


"Time" by M J Goerke

"Time," a Dream Book by M. J. Goerke (exterior view; reproduced with the permission of the artist)