Cartier Panthère, Assouline, 195 USD
An integral icon of the esteemed French jeweler, the panther has served as one of the most easily distinguishable animal "mascots" of Cartier for more than a century, adorning a variety of precious designs in necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Focusing on the panther's iconography, this large volume (complete with a slipcover) beautifully illustrates the history of the panther in pop culture, art history, and its evolution in the Cartier brand. Expect to see never-before-seen images from the Cartier archives, as well as essays from André Leon Talley and other Cartier enthusiasts.
Henry Leutwyler: Ballet, Steidl, 85 USD
During the winter of 2012, Swiss portrait photographer Henry Leutwyler was given unparalleled access to one of New York's most esteemed institutions: the New York City Ballet. Silently slipping into the behind-the-scenes lifestyle of the ballerinas, Leutwyler photographed everything from the dressing rooms to the curtain calls, with bluntly impressionistic and vividly-colored details. Don't expect a Black Swan-esque experience, though—while they're certainly gritty at times, the photographs are more beautifully touching and Baroque.
The Miró Eye, Fundació Joan Miró, 60 USD
Call this one a quintessential coffee table book. Taking a journey into the unique studio of Joan Miró—one of the most influential Spanish painters, sculptors, and ceramicists of all time—photos of the late Catalan artist's studio are juxtaposed with reproductions of some of his most famous works. It turns out Miró was much simpler than we may have thought, choosing to fill his studio with natural objects such as stones, branches, and feathers, as well as normal household trinkets. Nonetheless, seeing the space where his creative inspirations came to life is still special, especially through the striking black-and-white interior shots.
Richard Serra: Verticals and Horizontal Reversals, David Zwirner Books/Steidl, 65 USD
If you can't make it to Richard Serra's solo show at David Zwirner Gallery in New York (on display until July 24), this book is the next best thing. The king of minimalist sculpture, best known for creating large-scale designs made of sheet metal, has also dabbled in drawing since 1971, and his Vertical and Horizontal Reversals project is a virtuoso example of his artistic talents. The drawings utilize two identical sheets of paper with respective black and white areas, which are adjoined in a horizontal and vertical format, resulting in a meditative and monochromatic aesthetic. This volume displays all 33 drawings from the project, which Serra began in 2013.
The Book Cover in the Weimar Republic, Taschen, 69.99 USD
During its 14-year existence, the Weimar Republic ("Weimarer Republik"), which was formed between the first and second World Wars, proved to cultivate a major cultural boom in Germany. A little-discussed feat during this period was the plethora of graphic, fascinating, and thought-provoking book cover designs—everything from children's short stories to political novellas to auto manuals. Featuring 1,000 of these inimitably special covers, this large volume taps into the Weimar's creative hub and how it established its unique artistic aesthetic.
Night Visions: Nocturnes in American Art, 1860-1960, Prestel, 60 USD
If you thought painting en plein air in broad daylight was challenging, imagine the difficulties of trying to capture the essence of darkness and nighttime. As the first publication to explore this artistic challenge, the work of dozens of artists (including Georgia O'Keeffe, Andrew Wyeth, and Joseph Cornell) are examined, tapping into psyches to see how they approached creating nocturnal works of art. Starting from the birth of electric light and continuing through the rise of modernism in the Space Age, the array of paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs provides great insight into the personal ideals of the artists in question.