Artist Books

LRC Artist Books
The Birthday Suite, by Diane Weintraub

The Library and Research Center holds nearly 500 unique and limited edition books by women artists in a variety of mediums.

What are artists’ books?

An artist’s book is a work of art that serves as a medium of artistic expression in book form with the intention of the book being an art object. They can be entirely handmade or mass-produced and vary in the degree of focus on content, form, and materials. Many artists encourage readers to rethink the nature of the book and reading in new and unexpected ways. Contemporary artists’ books range from fine craft letterpress works to one-of-a-kind or limited-edition art objects presented in a wide variety of media and book formats. Artists incorporate typography, papermaking, paper engineering, bookmaking, design, fine art, graphics, creative writing, and digital media into their book works. 

Artists’ Books at the LRC:

Artists’ books have been an important part of the LRC since the museum was founded in 1986. The collection formally started that year when NMWA founder Wilhelmina Cole Holladay purchased Caroline (1985) by Swiss surrealist Meret Oppenheim. The museum collection overall now comprises more than 1,000 unique books and limited editions created by women artists in a variety of formats, from scrolls and accordions to codices and sculptures. The library holds nearly 500 of these artists’ books, including works by prominent books artists such as Ida Applebroog, Mirella Bentivoglio, Michelle Burgess, Laura Davidson, Johanna Drucker, Carol Schwartzott, and Kiki Smith.

In addition to artists’ books, the library has materials about the books arts.

Search lrc online catalog 

Library Fellows Artist’s Book Program, 1989-2013

The Library Fellows Program was established in 1989 to encourage and support the creation of artists' books and to benefit the NMWA Library and Research Center (LRC). The Fellows’ contributions were used to offer a grant to a selected artist to produce an artist’s book in a limited edition of 125 copies. As a benefit of membership, each Fellow received a copy of the book. The artists kept 25 copies as a form of remuneration for their creative efforts. The remaining copies were sold in support of the LRC. From 1990–2013, 21 artists’ books were published.

You may purchase a copy of a winning book in the following three ways:

Display copies are available at the NMWA Library and Research Center and the NMWA Museum Shop.

View high-resolution photos of the books 

National Museum of Women in the Arts