Sunday, February 26, 2012

Paintings of bookshelves: Almost as lovely as the real thing


Recently I watched an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents called “Premonition.” There were plenty of reasons for my attention to be held --not the least of which was a pretty young Chloris Leachman in an early role-- but what stole my focus in one  scene was something not meant to steal it away: a painting of a bookshelf.

It was a simple painting, especially as seen on black and white film, but as a person who feels at sea unless surrounded by books, I was fascinated. On the show’s set it was placed above a wealthy man’s bed --a spot that would normally be bookless. 

Attempt number 43 at grabbing a screenshot from an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The fact that I remember the painting in the background better than whatever is going on in this scene tells you something about me.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to capture a decent screenshot of the bookshelf painting. (That's John Forsythe persistently blocking my view. You know him better as Blake Carrington from Dynasty and also the voice of Charlie on Charlie's Angels. I know him better as the guy who kept blocking my screenshots.)


While real books would always be better, of course, it occurred to me that paintings of books would be a nice way to have the feel of them in places where it’s not practical, or even to magnify the feel of books in a room.

From incredibly realistic  trompe l’oeil paintings to still lifes and whimsical watercolors, here are some of the most stunning examples of bookshelf paintings from around the web.

Books for Maria by Dmitri Samarov

Vintage cookbooks painting by Holly Farrell.
Vintage children's books painting by Holy Farrell.

Partition by Stanford Kay.

Literary Landscape by Stanford Kay.


Not shelved, but should be a familiar site to anyone with more books than space. Above three images from Ephraim Rubenstein's Book Piles series.
Somewhat bare shelves asking to be filled. Painting by Chelsea James.
Blue Ocean. Exceptionally realistic bookshelf painting by Victoria Reichelt.
Almost Famous by Victoria Reichelt.
As the Stars Shine Down by Christopher Stott.
Antique Books by Christopher Stott.
I love how the above two paintings look decayed but still seem bright. From EarthArt's Etsy shop.
So cute, my teeth hurt. Wouldn't this be sweet in a kid's room? From LNZ Art.

 Which bookshelf painting is your favorite? And where would you hang it?


=================================================


Book Dirt is now on Facebook.  Click 'like' on the link to the right sidebar for extra dirt on the book world. (Of course you can also subscribe via reader, RSS or email while you're at it.)

27 comments:

  1. I love the Chelsea James painting--it's got that rain-washed impressionistic vibe I do so adore. But that last painting is charming too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't resist a kitten, but since the last one doesn't match my decor at all, I guess I would have to.

      Delete
  2. I like "Almost Famous" because I love to read titles of books from the shelves. I saw you comment on some of my frinds blog and wanted to say hi. Visit me soon and get in on A-Z if you haven't already.
    dreamweaver

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like "Almost Famous" because I own a few of the books depicted! It could almost be one of my own bookcases.

      Delete
  3. I think I would prefer a painting of book son wine with a few bottles of vintage vino as book ends.

    Uh oh, I see your word verification is on. I'm on a mission to rid the world of this evil and unnecessary nuisance. Please take a moment to visit my blog and click the How To Turn Off Your Word Verification tab.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I turned it off. Don't know why Blogger forced it on all of us.

      Delete
  4. It's hard to choose because I had a favorite, until I realized that the images were not stopping anytime soon, as I scrolled and read through this post.

    My first favorite were those cookbook and children's book paintings by Holly Farrell and then I was drawn to Ephraim's Book Piles series before getting wrapped up in Chelsea James' piece featuring that bookcase with empty shelves, but just when I thought that I knew which one I liked the most......Victoria's "Almost Famous" painting and Christopher Stott's "Antique Books" piece really put me in awe!

    If I had to choose just one, however, it would be "Somewhat bare shelves asking to be filled" by Chelsea James.

    Having a full bookcase would be perfection for the avid reader and painting every detail would probably be considered perfection for the serious art collector, maybe (I don't know), but it's the imperfect book inventory and the relatively abstract presentation that makes me want to call this work my own. I just love it!

    My second favorites are those two Holly Farrell paintings.

    The Madlab Post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I may have captioned the Chelsea James painting poorly. "Somewhat bare shelves asking to be filled" is my description of it, rather than the title. (It is untitled, as far as I know.) I was somewhat justifying the fact that I chose to include one without many books in it --it's so lovely, though!

      Delete
  5. I liked the middle ones the best, the ones with the books in isolation of sorts, all were great though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like the fact that those paintings in particular have worn-out books. As I buy most of my books used, they look very familiar to me.

      Delete
  6. I've never noticed any paintings like this before. I guess I'm partial to the ones that looked more real--like photographs. But the blue one kind of grabbed me. If I had one it would definitely go in my home office where I write and keep many of my books.

    My header was created by A to Z co-host Jeremy at Retro-Zombie. He's also responsible for the A to Z blog bling that folks are adorning their blogs with.


    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge
    Blogging from A to Z

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll have to check out Retro-Zombie. (Nice blog title!)

      Delete
  7. I could go with some of those vintage kitchen books in my kitchen - stars know you won't find an actual cookbook in my kitchen (well, maybe buried in a drawer somewhere.

    I like the idea of hanging book art perhaps in a narrow hallway.

    Fun fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm actually considering a SECOND bookcase in my kitchen for my cookbooks. They are double-stacked on most shelves. I have a problem.

      Delete
  8. Nice to see some pictures of book piles. Not everyone is organized enough to keep all his or her books on shelves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Organized, schmorganized. I have book piles because I bring *something* home from the bookstore every day --whether it's a single book or a stack. I can't possibly buy enough shelving to keep up with my addiction.

      Delete
  9. I didn't realize it had been forced on us, since I had word verification turned on already. So all I noticed was the changed to blurry, unimaginative, marginally function two-word verification passwords from the occasionally clever one-word terms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mine was turned off, but apparently it was turned on against my will. I agree that the new words aren't as weird/fun, but I seem to have better luck deciphering them, at least.

      Delete
  10. I like the Earth's Art painting. I might hang it in the office space. We may need paintings more in the future as we turn more toward ebooks.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Some of the paintings are so lifelike, wow! :)


    xoxo,
    Addie
    The Cat Hag

    ReplyDelete
  12. Speaking of books I just got rid of 80 percent of my book collection. Was taking up way too much space.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Love the look of these! Some of them are so realistic!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have to say that I loved Ephraim's "Book Piles" because, yes, I have a number of them around the house.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm trying to find out who made this one...

    http://www.absolutelymadness.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/508.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  16. AUGHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Now, I feel YOUR frustration! We HAVE a copy of that SAME painting in the Hitchcock show. It hung on knotty-pine wall of our parent's oh-so-60's 'rumpus room' until it was passed on to my brother about ten years ago. It hangs over his bed (ironically!) = BUT WHAT IS IT CALLED and who did it? It's not just books but all sorts of lovely bits and pieces, someone might place on a bookshelf; someone rather absent-minded. The bit of 'white paper' hanging to the upper right is a cartoon; a frustrated fisherman stands upright in his boat, screaming at the water, "Bite! Damnit Bite!" - one of the books is Thurber's "Is Sex Necessary?"....Oh, please, someone solve this 5 decade mystery for us and name this beloved piece for us! Alyoop2@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete