We believe that one of the best ways to engage with the art world – its histories, artists, and ecosystems –  is to keep hold of a running booklist, and to reserve an appetite for art reading alongside visits to art exhibitions and events.

Our headquarters in Singapore is stocked with a library of international art books and catalogues that often foster engaging conversations with collaborators, clients, or those curious to enter the art world. 

Metis co-director, Cliff Hartono, shares a list of his favourite art reads, updated for 2024. With Lunar New Year around the corner for those who celebrate, it may be a perfect time for leisurely reading between family reunions. Happy reading!

The Value of Art: Money. Power. Beauty by Michael Findlay

Michael Findlay is one of the most respected dealers in the art world, and this book explores the value of art from different perspectives – the commercial, the social and most importantly – the personal. The new expanded edition also discusses digital art and NFTs and recent political developments and their effect on the art world.

The Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich

The Story of Art by Gombrich is a true classic. Going all the way back to ancient art, it goes through the various periods of art and its evolution until the Modern period. I would recommend the larger coffee-table version with the grey cover – the small paperback does not do justice to the images of artworks discussed in the text.

What Are You Looking At?: 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye by Will Gompertz

What Are You Looking At? is an accessible introduction to Modern art that offers a great overview of various art movements, artworks, and artists over the last two centuries. While not a direct continuation of Gombrich’s classic, it does delve deeper into Modern and Contemporary art.


Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art by Michael Shnayerson

So much media attention is given to the auction houses and their record sales that most of the public does not realise that it is the galleries who are the backbone of the art market. Boom details the meteoric rise of mega dealers and blue-chip artists as well as how their often volatile relationships have created the contemporary art market of today. 

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