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?


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