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World of Art

World of Art
AuthorVarious authors
CountryUnited Kingdom
DisciplineArt history
PublisherThames & Hudson
Media typePrint (hardcover & paperback)
No. of booksMore than 300
Evolution of the cover design. 1, Herbert Read's A Concise History of Modern Painting, originally published in 1959 in the series, which became a foundational text for art students everywhere.[2] 2, Michael Levey's A Concise History of Painting: From Giotto to Cézanne. 3, Whitney Chadwick's Women, Art, and Society. 4, Richard J. Powell's Black Art and Culture in the 20th Century. 5, Patrick Waldberg's Surrealism. 6, James H. Rubin's Monet.

World of Art (formerly known as The World of Art Library) is a long established series of pocket-sized art books from the British publisher Thames & Hudson, comprising over 300 titles as of 2021.[3] The books are typically around 200 pages, but heavily illustrated. Unlike some concise or popular art books, the layout is traditional with text and pictures often on the same page, but segregated. The series was launched in 1958, and over 300 titles have been published in all; according to Christopher Frayling, former Principal of the Royal College of Art, "there are paint-stained copies in every art school in the land".[1]

The World of Art series treats all subjects concerning the arts, but mostly art history, ranging from prehistoric cave art to contemporary art, from Graeco-Roman and Viking art to Central Asian and Japanese art, from academic art to outsider art.[4] Perhaps the most classic book in the series is A Concise History of Painting: From Giotto to Cézanne by Michael Levey (of the National Gallery in London), originally published in 1962 (ISBN 0-500-20024-6). This gives an authoritative introduction to European art history from the early use of perspective in Italy to the start of modern art at the beginning of the 20th century.

Other authors include: John Boardman, Herbert Read, Hans Richter, Edward Lucie-Smith, Philip Rawson, David Talbot Rice, Peter Murray and Linda Murray, Germain Bazin, and Griselda Pollock.


Some earliest hardbacks with glossy dust jackets, spanning the period 1961–1980, the majority of these publications date back to the 1960s.

The series was initially titled The World of Art Library and published with black backgrounds on the back cover and spine, the front usually taken by a large image in colour. The earliest hardbacks were published with visually striking glossy dust jackets.

The series experienced its second revamp in 2001, at the time of the publication of its 300th title. According to a Thames & Hudson spokesman, the redesigned books are glossier to make them appear less 'text book-like'.[5]

In 2020, World of Art was relaunched with a batch of new titles, the covers have been once again redesigned by Dutch design studio Kummer & Herrman, now using white as background. The design was inspired by the golden ratio.[6] In regard to the relaunch, the director of Thames & Hudson Sophy Thompson remarked during an interview with The Bookseller: 'In looking at World of Art, we were looking at the changing art market. For me, it felt that not to rethink our legacy series was a mistake: we had to keep it fresh and updated.'[7] Amongst the new titles it could be highlighted Monet by James H. Rubin, a refreshing reconsideration of the painter, and Central and Eastern European Art since 1950 by Maja and Reuben Fowkes.[8]

The earliest titles were grouped into eight categories with colour codes: Architecture (orange), Artists (pink), Galleries (green), General (yellow), History of Art (blue), Modern Movements (red), Music (white) and New Directions (grey).

In France and Spain, the series was published by Éditions Thames & Hudson and Ediciones Destino, under the titles L'Univers de l'art and El mundo del arte, respectively, which are termed collections instead of book series.[9][10] The series has been published in North America by Thames & Hudson and sometimes other publishers.

List of books in the series

Title Author(s) Year of publication
A Concise History of Art, Part One: From the Beginnings to the Fifteenth Century Germain Bazin 1958
A Concise History of Art, Part Two: From the Renaissance to the Present Day Germain Bazin 1958
Encyclopædia of Old Masters Joachim Fernau [de] 1958
A Concise History of Modern Painting Herbert Read 1959
A Concise History of Modern Sculpture Herbert Read 1959
The Louvre Germain Bazin 1959
The Prado Sanchez Canton 1959
Albrecht Dürer Marcel Brion 1960
Dutch Museums R. van Luttervelt 1960
The Arts of Man Eric Newton 1960
The Artist in his Studio Alexander Liberman 1960
Renoir François Fosca [fr] 1961
The Hermitage Pierre Descargues [fr] 1961
The Art of the Ancient Near East Seton Lloyd 1961
The World of the Impressionists François Mathey [fr] 1961
A Concise History of Painting: From Giotto to Cézanne Michael Levey 1962
The School of Paris Bernard Dorival [fr] 1962
The Dresden Gallery Henner Menz 1962
Primitive Art Douglas Fraser 1962
Graphic Art of the 19th Century Claude Roger-Marx 1962
Surrealism Patrick Waldberg 1962
The Tate Gallery John Rothenstein 1962
Masters of the Japanese Print Richard Lane 1962
The Russian Experiment in Art, 1863–1922 Camilla Gray 1962
A Concise History of Russian Art Tamara Talbot Rice 1963
Michelangelo Rolf Schott [it] 1963
The Art of the Renaissance Peter and Linda Murray 1963
Art of the Byzantine Era David Talbot Rice 1963
Art of China, Korea, and Japan Peter Swann 1963
Impressionist Paintings in the Louvre Germain Bazin 1963
Encyclopaedia of Modern Architecture Gerd Hatje (editor) 1963
Greek Art John Boardman 1964
Roman Art and Architecture Mortimer Wheeler 1964
Elements of the Art of Architecture William Muschenheim 1964
The Arts of Spain José Gudiol 1964
Baroque and Rococo Art (retitled Baroque and Rococo) Germain Bazin 1964
Graphic Art of the 18th Century Jean Adhémar 1964
Toulouse-Lautrec Jean Bouret [fr] 1964
The English Garden Edward Hyams 1964
A Concise History of English Painting William Gaunt 1964
Early Medieval Art: Carolingian, Ottonian, Romanesque John Beckwith 1964
Dada: Art and Anti-Art Hans Richter 1964
The National Gallery Washington John Walker 1964
Ancient Arts of the Americas G. H. S. Bushnell 1965
Ancient Arts of Central Asia Tamara Talbot Rice 1965
Islamic Art David Talbot Rice 1965
European Sculpture: From Romanesque to Rodin H. D. Molesworth 1965
A Concise History of Ballet F. Reyna 1965
A Concise History of Photography Helmut and Alison Gernsheim 1965
Henry Moore Herbert Read 1965
Klee Gualtieri di San Lazzaro 1965
Chagall Jean Cassou 1965
Degas Jean Bouret [fr] 1965
Goya Jean-François Chabrun [fr] 1965
Picasso Pierre Daix 1965
Seurat John Russell 1965
Van Gogh Frank Elgar [fr] 1966
The Uffizi and Pitti Filippo Rossi 1966
Italian Gardens Georgina Masson 1966
Italian Villas and Palaces Georgina Masson 1966
Prehistoric Art T. G. E. Powell 1966
Art of the Romantic Era Marcel Brion 1966
A Concise History of Interior Decoration George Savage 1966
Rococo to Revolution: Major Trends in Eighteenth-Century Painting Michael Levey 1966
Cubism Edward F. Fry 1966
Matisse Jean Guichard-Meili [fr] 1967
Rubens Pierre Cabanne 1967
Rodin Bernard Champigneulle 1967
Minoan and Mycenaean Art Reynold Higgins 1967
A Companion to Painting William Gaunt 1967
A Concise History of Painting: From Prehistory to the 13th Century David Talbot Rice 1967
The Cathedrals of England Alec Clifton-Taylor 1967
Gothic Art Andrew Martindale 1967
The High Renaissance Linda Murray 1967
The Late Renaissance and Mannerism Linda Murray 1967
Impressionism Phoebe Pool 1967
American Art since 1900: A Critical History Barbara Rose 1967
Arp Herbert Read 1968
Braque Edwin Mullins 1968
Mondrian Frank Elgar [fr] 1968
Rembrandt J. E. Muller [lb] 1968
Barbara Hepworth A. M. Hammacher [nl] 1968
The National Gallery London Philip Hendy 1968
A History of Western Art Michael Levey 1968
A Concise History of Bronzes George Savage 1968
A Concise History of the Theatre Phyllis Hartnoll 1968
The Sources of Modern Architecture and Design Nikolaus Pevsner 1968
Turner Graham Reynolds 1969
Cézanne Frank Elgar [fr] 1969
Hawksmoor Kerry Downes 1969
Russell Drysdale Geoffrey Dutton 1969
William Dobell James Gleeson 1969
A Concise History of Irish Art Bruce Arnold 1969
A Concise History of Costume (revised and retitled Costume and Fashion: A Concise History) James Laver 1969
A Concise History of Western Architecture R. Furneaux Jordan 1969
The Architecture of the Italian Renaissance Peter Murray 1969
De Stijl Paul Overy 1969
Movements in Art since 1945 Edward Lucie-Smith 1969
Miró Roland Penrose 1970
William Blake Kathleen Raine 1970
Surrealist Art S. Alexandrian 1970
Pop Art Lucy R. Lippard 1970
The Pre-Raphaelites Timothy Hilton 1970
A Concise History of Venetian Painting John Steer 1970
The Munich Gallery: Alte Pinakothek Wolf-Dieter Dube 1970
The Art Institute of Chicago John Maxon 1970
Wren Margaret Whinney 1971
African Art Frank Willett [it] 1971
Metaphysical Art Massimo Carrà (in collaboration with Caroline Tisdall, Ewald Rathke, and Patrick Waldberg) 1971
The Cubists Paul Waldo Schwartz 1971
The Berlin Gallery Rüdiger Klessmann [de] 1971
Treasures of the British Museum Sir Frank Francis (editor) 1971
Treasures of the Vatican Oreste Ferrari 1971
A History of American Painting Matthew Baigell 1971
A Concise History of French Painting Edward Lucie-Smith 1971
A Concise History of Watercolours Graham Reynolds 1971
Encyclopaedia of Themes and Subjects in Painting Howard Daniel, introduction by John Berger 1971
The Picture History of Painting (Concise Edition) H. W. and Dora Jane Janson 1971
The New York School: Abstract Expressionism in the 40s and 50s Maurice Tuchman 1971
Edvard Munch J. P. Hodin 1972
The Essential Max Ernst Uwe M. Schneede [de] 1972
Symbolist Art Edward Lucie-Smith 1972
Eroticism in Western Art Edward Lucie-Smith 1972
Modern European Art Alan Bowness 1972
The Expressionists Wolf-Dieter Dube 1972
A Concise History of Opera Leslie Orrey 1972
A Concise History of Posters (retitled Posters: a concise history) John Barnicoat 1972
Art without Boundaries: 1950–70 Gerald Woods, Philip Thompson, John Williams 1972
Science and Technology in Art Today Jonathan Benthall 1972
The Origins of Christian Art Michael Gough 1973
Hieronymus Bosch Walter S. Gibson 1973
The Art of Tantra Philip Rawson 1973
The National Gallery of Victoria Ursula Hoff 1973
Futurist Manifestos Umbro Apollonio [it] (editor) 1973
Beethoven H. C. Robbins Landon 1974
El Greco Jacques Lassaigne 1974
Environments and Happenings Adrian Henri 1974
Athenian Black Figure Vases John Boardman 1974
Athenian Red Figure Vases: The Archaic Period John Boardman 1975
Picasso Timothy Hilton 1975
Velázquez Joseph-Émile Muller [lb] 1976
Botticelli L. D. and Helen S. Ettlinger 1976
David Hockney Marco Livingstone 1976
English Parish Churches Edwin Smith, Olive Cook, Graham Hutton 1976
A Concise History of Indian Art Roy C. Craven 1976
Photomontage Dawn Adès 1976
Prints of the Twentieth Century: A History (retitled Prints of the 20th Century: A History) Riva Castleman 1976
Bruegel Walter S. Gibson 1977
Futurism Caroline Tisdall, Angelo Bozzolla 1977
The High Renaissance and Mannerism: Italy, the North and Spain, 1500–1600 Linda Murray 1977
Edwardian Architecture: A Handbook to Building Design in Britain 1890–1914 Alastair Service 1977
Greek Sculpture: The Archaic Period John Boardman 1978
Greek Sculpture: The Classical Period John Boardman 1978
Dutch Painting R. H. Fuchs 1978
Romanticism and Art William Vaughan 1978
A Concise History of Modern Music: From Debussy to Boulez Paul Griffiths 1978
Victorian Architecture Roger Dixon, Stefan Muthesius [pl] 1978
English Architecture David Watkin 1979
Matisse Lawrence Gowing 1979
Francis Bacon John Russell 1979
Furniture: A Concise History Edward Lucie-Smith 1979
Michelangelo Linda Murray 1980
Egyptian Art Cyril Aldred 1980
Chinese Art Mary Tregear 1980
Native Arts of North America Christian F. Feest 1980
The Classical Language of Architecture John Summerson 1980
Modern Architecture: A Critical History Kenneth Frampton 1980
Industrial Design John Heskett 1980
Hogarth David Bindman 1981
Egon Schiele Frank Whitford 1981
Photography: A Concise History Ian Jeffrey 1981
A Concise Encyclopaedia of the Italian Renaissance J. R. Hale 1981
Dalí Dawn Adès 1982
Dictionary of the Italian Renaissance J. R. Hale 1983
Bauhaus Frank Whitford 1984
Japanese Art Joan Stanley-Baker 1984
Dictionary of Art Terms Edward Lucie-Smith 1984
Dictionary of Art and Artists Herbert Read 1985
Encyclopaedia of British Art David Bindman (general editor) 1985
American Architecture David P. Handlin 1985
Magritte Suzi Gablik 1985
British Art since 1900 Frances Spalding 1986
The Art of Mesoamerica: From Olmec to Aztec Mary Ellen Miller 1986
Encyclopaedia of 20th-Century Music (retitled Dictionary of 20th-Century Music) Paul Griffiths 1986
Classical Music: A Concise History from Gluck to Beethoven Julian Rushton 1986
Romantic Music: A Concise History from Schubert to Sibelius Arnold Whittall 1987
The Impressionists at First Hand Bernard Denvir (editor) 1987
Constable Michael Rosenthal 1987
Gauguin Belinda Thomson 1987
Rembrandt Christopher White 1988
Dictionary of British Art Nigel Morgan, David Bindman (editor) 1988
Impressionism: Origins, Practice, Reception Belinda Thomson 1988
Art Deco Alastair Duncan [de] 1988
Ballet & Modern Dance Susan Au 1988
Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present Roselee Goldberg 1988
Red Figure Vases of South Italy and Sicily A. D. Trendall 1989
Van Gogh Melissa McQuillan 1989
Klimt Frank Whitford 1990
Encyclopaedia of Impressionism Bernard Denvir 1990
Abstract Art Anna Moszynska 1990
Abstract Expressionism David Anfam 1990
Women, Art, and Society Whitney Chadwick 1990
Fauvism Sarah Whitfield 1991
Palladio and Palladianism Robert Tavernor 1991
Art and Myth in Ancient Greece T. H. Carpenter 1991
Hellenistic Sculpture R. R. R. Smith 1991
The Arts and Crafts Movement Elizabeth Cumming, Wendy Kaplan 1991
Sexuality in Western Art Edward Lucie-Smith 1991
Art of the Celts Lloyd and Jennifer Laing 1992
Italian Renaissance Sculpture Roberta J. M. Olson 1992
Post-Impressionism Bernard Denvir 1992
Dictionary of Graphic Design and Designers Alan and Isabella Livingston 1992
Aboriginal Art Wally Caruana 1993
Victorian Painting Julian Treuherz 1993
Buddhist Art and Architecture Robert E. Fisher 1993
Design since 1945 Peter Dormer 1993
Latin American Art of the 20th Century (revised and retitled Latin American Art since 1900) Edward Lucie-Smith 1993
Art Nouveau Alastair Duncan [de] 1994
Concepts of Modern Art: From Fauvism to Postmodernism Nikos Stangos 1994
Graphic Design: A Concise History Richard Hollis 1994
Primitivism and Modern Art Colin Rhodes 1994
Greek Sculpture: The Late Classical Period John Boardman 1995
Oceanic Art Nicholas Thomas 1995
Charles Rennie Mackintosh Alan Crawford 1995
Manet Alan Krell 1996
Jewelry: From Antiquity to the Present Clare Phillips 1996
History of Film David Parkinson 1996
Art of the Andes: From Chavín to Inca Rebecca Stone-Miller 1996
Architecture after Modernism Diane Ghirardo 1996
Etruscan Art Nigel Spivey 1997
Art of Tibet Robert E. Fisher 1997
Art since 1960 Michael Archer 1997
Black Art and Culture in the 20th Century Richard J. Powell 1997
Art in Australia: From Colonization to Postmodernism Christopher Allen 1997
Jazz Mervyn Cooke 1998
Bonnard Timothy Hyman 1998
Caribbean Art Veerle Poupeye 1998
Dictionary of Fashion and Fashion Designers Georgina O'Hara Callan 1998
Italian Baroque Sculpture Bruce Boucher 1998
Early Greek Vase Painting John Boardman 1998
Mary Cassatt: Painter of Modern Women Griselda Pollock 1998
Western Architecture Ian Sutton 1999
The Arts in Spain John F. Moffitt [pl] 1999
Maya Art and Architecture Mary Ellen Miller, Megan E. O'Neil 1999
Islamic Art and Architecture Robert Hillenbrand 1999
British Painting: The Golden Age William Vaughan 1999
Marcel Duchamp Dawn Adès, Neil Cox, David Hopkins 1999
Contemporary African Art Sidney Littlefield Kasfir 1999
New Media in Late 20th-Century Art Michael Rush 1999
Realism in 20th Century Painting Brendan Prendeville 2000
Outsider Art: Spontaneous Alternatives Colin Rhodes 2000
Scottish Art Murdo Macdonald 2000
Hindu Art and Architecture George Michell 2000
Le Corbusier Kenneth Frampton 2001
Georgia O'Keeffe Lisa Mintz Messinger 2001
The Language of Ornament James Trilling 2001
Cubism and Culture Mark Antliff, Patricia Leighten 2001
Art of the Middle Ages Janetta Rebold Benton 2002
The Gothic Revival Michael J. Lewis 2002
Gainsborough William Vaughan 2002
Five Centuries of British Painting: From Holbein to Hodgkin Andrew Wilton 2002
Italian Architecture from Michelangelo to Borromini Andrew Hopkins 2002
Black Art: A Cultural History Richard J. Powell 2002
Sienese Painting Timothy Hyman 2003
French Painting in the Golden Age Christopher Allen 2003
20th Century Ceramics Edmund de Waal 2003
World Textiles: A Concise History Mary Schoeser 2003
American Art since 1945 David Joselit 2003
Los Angeles County Museum of Art 2003
Digital Art Christiane Paul 2003
Internet Art Rachel Greene 2004
Scottish Architecture Miles Glendinning, Aonghus MacKechnie 2004
North American Indian Art David W. Penney 2004
The Photograph as Contemporary Art Charlotte Cotton 2004
Art & Architecture of Cambodia Helen Ibbitson Jessup 2004
Arts of Southeast Asia Fiona Kerlogue 2004
Dictionary of Ancient Egypt Toby Wilkinson 2005
Dictionary of Design since 1900 Guy Julier [ca] 2005
American Art and Architecture Michael J. Lewis 2006
Colour in Art John Gage 2006
Interior Design since 1900 Anne Massey 2008
The Body in Contemporary Art Sally O'Reilly 2009
Fashion since 1900 Valerie Mendes, Amy de la Haye 2010
Ideals of Beauty: Asian and American Art in the Freer and Sackler Galleries Julian Raby 2010
Graffiti and Street Art Anna Wacławek 2011
Sculpture Now Anna Moszynska 2013
Art and Architecture in Mexico James Oles 2013
Viking Art James Graham-Campbell 2013
Body Art Nicholas Thomas 2014
Art since 1989 Kelly Grovier 2015
Cave Art Bruno David 2017
Egyptian Art Bill Manley 2017
Monet James H. Rubin 2020
Central and Eastern European Art since 1950 Maja and Reuben Fowkes 2020
Contemporary Painting Suzanne Hudson 2021
The Art of Contemporary China Jiang Jiehong 2021
Art in California Jenni Sorkin 2021
Artists' Film David Curtis, foreword by Steve McQueen 2021
Graphic Design in the Twentieth Century Richard Hollis 2021

See also


  1. ^ a b "Thames & Hudson — About Us: History". Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  2. ^ "Thames & Hudson is relaunching its signature World of Art series with the publication in 2020 of 20 titles on art, architecture, design, photography and fashion". World of Art. London: Thames & Hudson. 2020. p. 2.
  3. ^ "Thames & Hudson: A new brand identity for the illustrated book publisher". Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  4. ^ Malpas, James (1 April 2000). "Recent publications from Thames & Hudson and more". Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  5. ^ "Thames & Hudson relaunch World of Art series". 26 April 2001. Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  6. ^ Wong, Henry (9 March 2020). "Pentagram rebrands Thames & Hudson for 'modernisation' and 'restoration'". Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  7. ^ Tivnan, Tom (26 August 2020). "Thompson puts stamp on T&H with new look". Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  8. ^ Glover, Michael (12 September 2020). "New Art Books for the New Season". Retrieved 4 January 2022.
  9. ^ "Des collections éditoriales pour mieux comprendre l'art" (PDF). (in French). 2020. p. 5. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  10. ^ "Ediciones Destino: Colecciones". (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 December 2021.
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World of Art
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