These books make the perfect gifts for the arts enthusiast in your life—intimately exploring epic lives and the legacies these artists left behind.

Save 30% on these and more titles with promo code  20W1015.

Beethoven, A Life by Jan Caeyers

Celebrate both Beethoven’s 250th birthday and the classical music lover in your life with this authoritative Beethoven biography, endorsed by and produced in close collaboration with the Beethoven-Haus Bonn.

Interior and exterior product shots of the book.

Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon by Maxine Gordon

New in paperback and perfect for jazz listeners—uncover the life and legacy of the major modern jazz innovator through the words he left behind.

“Dexter would fill a few pages with his writing; I would type up the notes on a small portable Olivetti typewriter; then he would read them over, make changes, and talk about how he wanted to tell the story. One time when we were sitting on the patio in Cuernavaca, I remarked that I thought he needed to make an outline to better organize the book. He thought that was a bad idea and said he did not want a book written along a linear timeline. He wanted to improvise and have the book play out like a long jazz set, letting the story unfold as he reflected on the life of “Society Red.” I insisted that an outline was necessary and recall that I won that argument—which was a very rare occurrence. (He later said that he agreed to make the outline just to quiet me down. But, as so often happened with us, Dexter saw the “long game”: he knew that over time I’d come to see the wisdom of his approach. This book is, in part, another posthumous win for Dexter in one of our many spirited debates.) The way Dexter wrote the book is the way he wrote his life—on his own terms, in his own voice, in his own inimitable way. As I watched him work, and helped and argued with him about it, I saw why his story was important, even essential: to know the story of Dexter Gordon is to know the story of his community, the story of how some of the most creative people in the twentieth century projected their unique voices.”

Excerpt from the book. Read more.

Carleton Watkins: Making the West American by Tyler Green

For photography fans and West Coasters at heart, discover the work and influence of the American photographer who shaped America’s idea of the West. New in paperback.

“We think of, today, the attraction of being Yosemite that’s a beautiful, dramatic landscape, and that’s why we go. And Californians do that in the 1850s. It’s part of the reason that Native Americans were murderously run out of it by a state militia early in the 1850s. But for that entire first decade that Californians knew Yosemite was there and knew how—or had read, or could read about—how spectacular it was, they didn’t go.

The beauty of the place did not motivate people to take the two- or three-day trip from San Francisco. Yosemite becomes prominent because some very smart Eastern-educated Republican Unionists in San Francisco ally Yosemite with the great tradition, with the great Northern cultural tradition of landscape. And that’s what gets Yosemite over. And Watkins is at the very heart of that.”

On the impact of Watkins’ Yosemite photographs and in conversation with Jim Cuno, President of the J. Paul Getty Trust, Art & Ideas podcast

Carleton Watkins, Lower Yosemite Fall, 1865–66.
Carleton Watkins, Upper Yosemite Fall, 1865–66.