Inspiring, transporting and just plain gorgeous coffee table books


Art books inspire; we recommend these coffee table books as beautiful gifts.

Depeche Mode: Monument

Dennis Burmeister and Sascha Lange

Depeche Mode fans know that “Monument” is a song on its seminal 1982 album “A Broken Frame.” It’s a fitting title for this encyclopedic yet intimate photo book that covers the band’s career, with a special section devoted to fan culture. (Akashic Books)

Bridges: A History of the World’s Most Spectacular Spans

Judith Dupre

A photographic look at the world’s most impressive bridges, this clever book is read spine-up in a panoramic, landscape format in order to showcase each bridge’s full horizontal span. (Black Dog & Leventhal)

Mariposa Nocturnas

Emmet Gowin

A dazzling array of more than 1,000 species of nocturnal moths in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, French Guiana and Panama, captured close-up and in full color. (Princeton Architectural Press)

Postmodern Design Complete: Design, Furniture, Graphics, Architecture, Interiors

Judith Gura

The ’80s are back. This overview of postmodern design paints a complete portrait of the playful, colorful and innovative aesthetic that defined a decade. (Thames & Hudson)

Daido Moriyama: Record

Mark Holborn

Striking street photography compiled from 30 issues of the celebrated Japanese photographer’s personal publication and visual diary, “Record.” (Thames & Hudson)

The Jacksons: Legacy

The Jacksons and Fred Bronson

Family photos and exclusive interviews from the legendary siblings who changed the face of pop music. (Black Dog & Leventhal)

Into Africa

Frans Lanting

Travel the Serengeti Plain and the deserts of Namibia — encountering bonobos and cheetahs along the way — in Lanting’s nature photographs of Africa. (Earth Aware Editions)

Duane Michals: Portraits

Duane Michals

Michals shoots expressive portraits of expressive people: find Philip Roth, René Magritte, Meryl Streep and more in this compilation of a half-century of work. (Thames & Hudson)

Keiichi Tahara: Architecture Fin-de-Siècle

Riichi Miyake

This limited-edition, massive three-volume set, which retails for $300, showcases Keiichi Tahara’s whimsical, elegant photographs of Europe’s Art Nouveau architecture. (Taschen)

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams

Florence Muller, editor

Dior, the consummate Parisian fashion house, marks its 70th anniversary with photographs and sketches of its 70 most influential looks, from Marlene Dietrich to Natalie Portman. (Thames & Hudson)

Trousdale Estates: Midcentury to Modern in Beverly Hills

Steven M. Price

Peek inside the 410-acre enclave with current and archival photos of homes built primarily in the 1950s and ’60s by seminal midcentury architects such as Lloyd Wright, Wallace Neff, Paul R. Williams and A. Quincy Jones. (Regan Arts)

Coastal California: The Pacific Coast Highway and Beyond

Jake Rajs

Photographs capturing the stunning views and landscapes of the 840 miles of the California coast, from sandy summer beaches to rocky windswept cliffs. (Rizzoli)

Obama: An Intimate Portrait

Pete Souza

A selection of more than 300 candid, intimate and historical photographs of President Obama by former chief official White House photographer Pete Souza, who shadowed the president for his two terms. (Little, Brown & Co.)

The Enigma of the Owl: An Illustrated Natural History

Mike Unwin and David Tipling

Mysterious, portentous, mesmerizing: Learn about these enigmatic nocturnal birds through more than 200 color photographs of owls in the wild. (Yale)

Vegas Gold

David Willis

A photographic look at the halcyon days of old Las Vegas from the 1950s to the 1980s, in all its glitz, glamour and glory. (Dey St.)

Earth Is My Witness

Art Wolfe

From the Antarctic peninsula to the Ganges River to the jungles of Brazil, Wolfe turns his lens on the planet’s peoples, its creatures and its grandest landscapes. In this globe-spanning book, Wolfe takes us to places that most of us will never see for ourselves. (Earth Aware Editions)