Tag Archives: Abbeville

Live Blogging @ BEA

And let the live-blogging commence! Your blogging editorial assistant-publicist here for our first Abbeville Press BookExpo America blog posting. Today was the Show setup (for those less in-tune to the inner happenings of the book publishing industry, the Show refers to BookExpo America or BEA, the biggest, craziest American book publishing event of the year (yes I said crazy! What do you think we do here?? Sit around the Los Angeles Staples Center and read?? No! Giveaways, autographing, and events abound—I for one will be hitting up the Cookbook Expo)).

So yes, you read correctly, this year we’ve headed to L.A., to set up shop until Sunday at a rocking booth at the Staples Center (and no! FYI there is not a actual Staples store in the venue). So I would post pictures but the booth was in quite a disarray today during setup and to be honest we were too sweaty to consider posting our mugs on the internet. But lots of pictures of the beautiful booth and its many neat features will be posted tomorrow! We will try to live blog in the booth during doubtful-downtime but, if not, rest assured my colleague, managing editor Erin, will fill you in on the characters that stopped by the booth and the anticipated boxing match between Random House and HarperCollins.

To recap the day, we unpacked boxes, unpacked more boxes and then rolled things. We rolled posters, Abbeville Family Shirts (I plan on turning mine into a dress on Sunday!), and more posters. So the day went pretty smoothly! To check out what we’ll be up to tomorrow when the show starts, click here (the Abbeville Press events page).

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A Garden of Publishing Delights

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In the early eighteenth century, the garden of Alexander Pope, the major poet and tastemaker of his age, was considered the ultimate expression of his aesthetic ideals of elegance, proportion, and classical harmony. Today, the ultimate expression of the aesthetic ideals of our age might just be Abbeville’s books about gardeningfrom the chic Private Gardens of the Fashion World to the artistically cutting-edge Gardens of Revelation. And with spring approaching fast and fragrant, you’ll want to pick up at least one of these volumes in time to start planning your own floral sanctum sanctorum. Once it’s blossomed, give Abbeville a call: we might be up for strolling through it with you, quoting Pope and holding forth on the aesthetics of style.

Style Points

Nomenclature

1.1. Part of the fun of having a garden is telling visitors what’s in it. A good strategy is to plant only flowers and shrubs with cool-sounding names: “snapdragon,” “phlox,” “rhododendron,” “pheasant’s-eye narcissus.” Conversely, you might want to steer clear of “bladder senna.”

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Abbevideo

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As part of our noble and continuing effort to extend the reach of Abbevillian style into all possible media, we are proud to announce the launch of “Abbevideo” on our new website. As the elegantly attired host explains in this first episode, Abbevideo is a series designed to give you, our readers and viewers, an in-depth look inside your favorite Abbeville titles. This week’s installment profiles Steffi Roettgen’s Italian Frescoes: The Baroque Era, 1600-1800, the fifth and final volume in Abbeville’s monumental study of the great Italian fresco cycles.

As you watch, look at the close-ups of the book illustrations. Notice how well the static images translate to video format: there’s something cinematic about the richness of the colors, the drama of the poses, the narrative quality of the scenes with their huge casts of characters. Hundreds of years before the moving image, it was paintings like theseso spectacular, so dynamic, so, well, baroquethat emerged as the first true blockbusters.

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Abbeville is For Lovers

…And for the lonely, too. No matter how your Valentine’s Day turned outwhether you kindled a new flame, rekindled an old one, or “kindled” a frozen taco in the microwave and watched Colbert Report rerunsAbbeville has a book for you.

For the lover: 

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 For the loser in love (who will one day be a winner, so hang in there, champ):

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 For the rest of us:

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The Greatest Story Ever Told

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Holding Down the Fort of Style: Briana mans our booth at the 2008 American Library Association conference.

With their usual effortless wit and flair, the Arbiters who attended the recent American Library Association conference in Philadelphia used their spare time to write a story incorporating every single title on display in Abbeville‘s booth. Some have called the result the most stylish piece of short fiction this side of McSweeney’s, but no matter how many awards it goes on to win or how many anthologies it’s destined to grace, we would like to share it here first with you, our loyal readers. Enjoy.

Tales of the People: An Extraordinary Journey of Rediscovery

Long ago, I rode to China in a VW Bus with a Jew from Uganda and Norman Rockwell . . . 

We sang Nothing But the Blues and played a lot of Chess. We finally arrived at a villa in the style of the immortal Palladio, where we were visited by Goddesses in Art, who handed us a tablet inscribed with Maya Script that instructed us to start a Civil Rights Movement.

We started the movement in the Fine West by planting a Bonsai tree. When our gospel we had to China Revealed, we pondered which of the Seven Trails West to take. I stopped In the Market, which had an aura of The Nixon Years. Hieronymus Bosch was there, practicing Chinese Calligraphy, and he asked us, “Have you seen any Women Artists?”

“No,” I said. “But have you seen Morisot’s progeny on the cover of that Travels with Van Gogh book? What a hottie! I’d go ‘Discover the Connections’ with her any day.”

Bosch exclaimed, “No dude! Haven’t you heard? She’s with John Singer Sargent. They’re out painting Italian Frescoes all the time.”

“Hmm, Frescoes? I much prefer Landscape Painting myself,” I said.

And with that, we continued on our Pacific Legacy, Traveling with the VW Bus & Camper. Every night, the Ugandan and I swapped Pacific War Stories, while Rockwell expounded upon The Faith of America.

Eventually, I left my peers, as The Lure of Gold was too strong, and headed to Persia to discover its Minerals and Gems. Not finding any, I decided to check out The Art and Architecture of Mesopotamia, since I was an aspiring student of Arabic Script.

Walking along a crowded street, I saw The Great Book of French Impressionism drop out of a young man’s bag. Turns out he was a disillusioned Modern Master seeking to learn the ways of 19th and 20th Century Painting. I suggested he give up on painting and take up studying the World History of Photography—if so, the first place to start would be to take some New Visions of The Sistine Chapel. He told me he was more interested in painting Artists’ Self-portraits, but that he practiced Photojournalism for his high school newspaper, where the Editor’s Choice ruled when his work made it into print.

Falling deeper into discussion, we realized we both had an affinity for birds, having both loved Audubon prints as a child. Eventually, it came up that he was a Native American, and he started showing me his portfolio, much of which was obviously copies of Catlin prints found in The National Museum of the American Indian.

Later that night, as visions of Elves and Goblins danced in my head, I awoke with a start—I saw a hand writing Hieroglyphics on the wall! I couldn’t read hieroglyphics, so I closed my eyes and lulled myself back to sleep by dreaming of The Art of Rock (vintage Elvis posters are my favorite!).

The next morning I grew tired of the Middle East, so I called up my buddy Giuseppe Panza—always up for a good adventure—and we took a day trip to Angkor Wat. As the sun rose over that magnificent Khmer monument, Art and Science merged luminously in my mind, and I realized that if I were an artist monograph, I’d be Caravaggio.

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Parties with Van Gogh

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In recent weeks, Abbeville Press has attended two release parties in honor of one of our most stylish fall titles: Travels With Van Gogh and the Impressionists: Discovering the Connections, by Lin Arison and Neil Folberg. The first fête took place at Rizzoli Bookstore and featured short talks by author Arison and photographer Folberg about their unique collaborative effort: a combination memoir, travelogue, biography, art history study, photo essay, and cookbook (OK, not the last one). Guests enjoyed fine wine and conversation under the smoldering gaze of Lucie Rouart, the Van Gogh cover girl and descendant of Impressionist artist Berthe Morisot. (Rumor has it that one Abbevillian has a slight crush on Lucie, based solely on her photo, but even if that were true, which it isn’t, it would only be because she is a woman of consummate style.)

The second event took place at Christie’s auction house amidst a stunning collection of Impressionist and Modernist paintings, as well as a panoply of goat cheese canapés served on trays that Abbevillians tried hard not to tag along after like housepets. Arison and Folberg gave a more in-depth presentation about their book, and the art they discussed was as sumptuous as the lobster-and-bacon puffs, which provided the taste equivalent of a melting Monet sunrise.

Style Points

Art

1.1. Impressionism is radical again. Arison and Folberg’s book has brought the movement bursting back to life, recapturing the freshness and daring of the work of Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Cézanne, Degas, Renoir, and Morisot, not to mention their early Modernist contemporary, Van Gogh. Arison’s text is carefully researched yet personal, illuminating the artists, their paintings, and their effect on her own life, while Folberg’s photographs, juxtaposed with Impressionist originals, ingeniously reinterpret the masters’ paintings in a contemporary spirit. Together, they remind us that if Van Gogh and company were in today’s New York, they’d be lurking around the Williamsburg fringe, bumming cigarettes and turning the art world on its (severed) ear.

Etiquette

1.2. When taking your fifth goat cheese canapé from a server’s tray, it is not necessary to laugh nervously and explain to the server how much you love goat cheese. She already knows.

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Introduction

Dear Readers,

If only the world were more like an Abbeville Press book. Beautifully conceived and executed, tasteful and elegant, comprehensive and clear…instead we have this vague, awkward, confusing, poorly punctuated place that would take a few million years of editing to set straight, not to mention a major design overhaul.

Naturally, this kind of sloppiness bothers Abbeville. To quote our mission statement: “The company believes that publishing illustrated books is a distinct specialty, requiring exacting standards of editorial, design, and production savoir-faire. Abbeville is dedicated to extending this standard of excellence throughout its diverse list, its relationships with booksellers, and its partnerships in distributing.” But what about extending this credo to life? Don’t personal relationships demand excellence? Doesn’t good taste in art or music require exacting standards? Don’t cocktail parties require savoir-faire?

In order to lay down some much-needed guidelines in this rough-draft world, we at Abbeville have created a Manual of Style. This Manual will cover not only Abbeville’s immediate area of expertise, i.e., art and illustrated books, but any subject on which our opinions, experiences, and tastes might be relevant or helpful: publishing, the arts, events, trends, New York City, the universe, and so on. To avoid overwhelming the reader, the Manual will not be presented all at once in its full glory, but in an ongoing series of excerpts posted by its contributors on a semi-weekly basis. Some excerpts will contain “Style Points”—brief pronouncements on various pressing issues—while others will contain reviews, anecdotes, company news, and more. Taken as a whole, the Manual will provide an indispensable guide to redefining your world, Abbeville-style.

Style Points

Nomenclature

1.1. The Manual of Style is a “manual,” not a “blog.” The word “manual” conveys authority, practicality, and concision. The word “blog” sounds like a dump truck landing in a swamp.

1.2. The contributors to the Manual are not “bloggers,” nor are they “editors.” They are “Arbiters of Style.” Their names are: Austin Allen, Briana Green, Erin Dress, Megan Malta, and Michaelann Millrood.

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