Feature photo @Spelll.Bound
The art world is one that many find elusive and mysterious. From paintings and sculptures to drawings and woodworking, this small society attracts some of the most brilliant minds that have walked the earth. If you crave art and enjoy reading, you’ll love this list of ten titles we’ve compiled.
Fake by Erica Katz
Emma has mastered the art of imitation flawlessly with her replicas of nineteenth-century paintings. Even though painting is her passion, her craft reminds her of the big dreams she had as an artist before her family life imploded. When a well-known collector named Leonard offers her a job she can’t refuse, she thinks she may have finally turned a corner. However, she quickly realizes that this new lifestyle comes with its own challenges, and discovers that what lurks just below the surface of the glamorous art world is a gritty scene that she was entirely unprepared for.
Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li
Will, a Chinese American student in his senior year at Harvard, has quite the project to complete. Even though he’s a model student with proud parents, he’s willing to risk it all to steal back priceless pieces of art taken from Beijing years ago. Knowing he can’t do it alone, he recruits four of the most intelligent people he knows, all with special skills. Each accepts because they all have complicated feelings about their Chinese culture and want back what rightfully belongs to their homeland. But if they fail, they risk losing everything they’ve worked so hard to build in America.
Painting Time by Maylis de Kerangal
Paula is a star student at the exclusive Institut de Peinture in Brussels. Her specialty is replicating the look and feel of things found in nature, such as marble or wood. Craftmanship is truly her passion, and she’ll work endless hours to ensure that the finished product has captured her vision. Upon graduation, she travels the world, working on film sets, perfecting her technique with every brushstroke. When documentary filmmaker de Kerangal discovers Paula, he offers her a job working on Lascaux IV, a replica of well-known cave art, and she embarks on her most prestigious project to date.
Second Place by Rachel Cusk
When a woman invites a well-known artist to stay in her family’s guest house for the summer, she’s hopeful that his presence will help her get to the root of her issues. For reasons she cannot explain, she is drawn to his artwork, and it evokes strong emotions that she hopes will reveal more profound meaning in her life. As the hot summer drones on, his presence on the property only disillusions her further, leaving her more confused than when he arrived. When privilege and fate become intertwined, it becomes clear that art is so much more than just a material creation.
Dark Things I Adore by Katie Lattari
In 1988, a small group of art camp students gathered for a fun night in the woods. Little did they know going in that one would not come out alive. Thirty years later, art professor Max Durant heads to the home of his protégé, Audra, to look at her graduate thesis collection. Audra is intelligent and beautiful, and it’s rare for her to invite anyone to her home, so Max is thrilled to be her guest. However, Audra has an agenda—and revenge is on that list. She is the only one that knows what happened on that fateful night and is fully aware of the sinister secret Max is keeping. And she intends to make him pay.
Still Life by Sarah Winman
With bombs falling left and right in abandoned Tuscan villages, Ulysses seeks shelter in a wine cellar. However, he’s not the only one hiding out. Historian Evelyn is here to salvage paintings from the rubble and, at the same time, dig up buried memories from her childhood. The two quickly form a bond, putting things into motion that will shape his life for the next forty years. Even though Ulysses eventually returns home to London, Italy will always have a piece of his heart. When he receives an unexpected inheritance, he decides to return to Tuscany and re-discover the life that brought him so much clarity.
Marriage of a Thousand Lies by SJ Sindu
From the outside in, digital artist Lucky and her husband appear happily married, both to their Sri Lankan families and American friends. However, each are gay and have an understanding that they can date other people, as long as they keep up the appearance of wedded bliss. A family emergency sends Lucky back home, and when she’s reunited with her first love, Nisha, all of the old feelings come flooding back. But Nisha is busy planning for her arranged marriage and not sure she is ready to come clean. Can Lucky finally choose love, or is it better for everyone involved for her to continue living a lie?
The Saints of Swallow Hill by Donna Everhart
Carey Logan was an icon on the New York art scene and shocked the world when she died by suicide. When she passed, her otherwise vacant studio remained filled with her masterpieces, haunting those who idolized her. So when a fire sweeps through the space and destroys the seven paintings scheduled for a farewell exhibition, a no-name artist is commissioned to re-create the pieces. Desperate to make her mark, she gets to work right away to meet the deadline that’s just three short months away. But as she gets closer to fulfilling her dreams, the dark underbelly of the art world is exposed.
Portrait of an Unknown Lady by Maria Gainza
A mysterious artist in Buenos Aires has mastered the art of duplicating the work of Mariette Lydis, a high-profile portraitist in Argentina. Thought to be a woman, this truly talented painter has managed to fly under the radar, leaving no clues behind that would reveal her identity. But when an auction house employee decides to get to the bottom of the mystery, her detective work turns into an obsession, creating chaos in the art community. Through manipulation and deception, she starts to lose touch with reality, and the lines between what is authentic versus forged become very blurred.
So Much Blue by Percival Everett
Artist Kevin has it all: a loving wife, beautiful children, and a supportive best friend. He also has secrets he’s been harboring for years that he can’t let go of. His current painting is a large canvas covered entirely in various shades of blue. He won’t allow anyone to see it, not even his wife. A decade ago, he had an affair with a watercolorist in Paris, and it continues to haunt him to this day. Years prior, his dangerous travels in El Salvador are still embedded in his mind. Between the two memories, he’s on the verge of spiraling. Will this painting be his saving grace, or what ultimately destroys him?
Attribution by Linda Moore
Art historian Cate Adamson leaves the Midwest to complete her doctorate in New York—only to be assigned to an impossibly sexist advisor. She struggles to impress him until she discovers a hidden painting, possibly a Baroque masterpiece. Risking her career, financial disaster, and further alienation from her family, she flees to Spain with the painting to consult art experts. There she meets Antonio, an impoverished duke, and he joins her search while attempting to rescue the decaying legacy of his family. They find clues and uncover evidence that will shock the titans of art history, but may also destroy her prospects as an art historian, and shatter her future with Antonio.