Artist's book definition

The selection of artist’ books will be made according to specific criteria, in compliance with two complementary definitions of an artists’ book, as proposed by two specialists : Anne Moeglin-Delcroix and Guy Schraenen and in whom Bob Calle found reflections of

his own thinking :

An artist’s book is often entirely conceived by one single artist, in a small format, and in a limited edition of copies – seldom higher than 1000. It is, typically sold for a modest price, indeed is sometimes even donated, and is usually neither numbered nor signed.

Bob Calle ¹

An “artists’ book” is a work created under

the artist’s sole responsibility and has been conceived in the form of a printed book, with the aim of making art accessible to the greatest number possible.


Anne Moeglin-Delcroix ²

An ‘artists’ book’ is not an art book

An ‘artists’ book’ is not a book about art

An ‘artists’ book’ is a work of art





Guy Schraenen³

The “artists’ book” is a new art form, created during the 60’s, by many artists interested in this innovative way of creating a fully-fledged work. Among them are: C. Boltanski, G. Brecht, M. Broodthaers, S. Brouwn, D. Buren, A. Darboven, P. Downsbrough, R. Filliou, P.A. Gette, H.P. Feldmann, J. Le Gac, J. Kosuth, S. Lewitt, R. Long, M. Nannucci, D. Roth, Ed Ruscha, Lawrence Weiner. These artists, through the book format, explore a new ways to create a fullyfledged work of art: something that is not expensive, which is available in several copies and in simplified formats such as leaflets, small books or other printed matter facilitating its circulation beyond the world of art.

Since the 60’s, the “artists’ book” concept has constantly expanded and has been part of various artistic projects, catching the eyes of collectors, galleries, museums and libraries. This evolution is the underlying justification behind the creation of Prix Bob Calle 2017 du livre d’artiste.

¹ Bob Calle, in the catalogue raisonné

Christian Boltanski, artists’ booksÉditions 591, 2008, p.

² Anne Moeglin-Delcroix is the author of Esthétique du livre d’artiste, (1997, reissued in 2012} in which the main books of the pioneers of the genre are examined. Graduate of the École Normale Supérieure, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the Sorbonne and previously in charge of the ‘artists’ books’ collection at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

³ Guy Schraenen is the author of D’une

oeuvre l’autre, Musée Royal de Mariemont,

1996, p. 7. He is publisher and artists’ books

collector. He was the first curator of the

Museum Weserburg collection in Bremen,

Germany. He founded the Archive for

Small Press & Communication