Art Lovers Book Club

The Attleboro Arts Museum’s Art Lovers Book Club launched in January 2010. A dynamic Museum member proposed this artful Book Club idea and the program was launched on a trial basis. After the success of the first meeting it was clear that the Book Club should live on.  

Through the years the club has met 40 times and welcomed close to 2,000 curious minds to its public meetings.  From the wildlife art of John James Audubon to the cubist masterworks of Pablo Picasso, the Art Lovers Book Club has introduced and enriched participant’s knowledge of a wide range of artists and art movements.

The Art Lovers Book Club meets in either the Museum’s Ottmar Gallery, in it’s art studios, or via Zoom.  

Free and open to all.  




Saturday, October 17th from 2-4pm

All are welcome!

Monument Man: The Life of Daniel Chester French by Harold Holzer

This meeting will be held virtually through Zoom.
Advance registration is required to receive an invite with a link to join the meeting.
RSVP with your name and email by October 14th – tele: 508-222-2644 x10 or email:

The definitive biography of Daniel Chester French, the artist who created the statue for the Lincoln Memorial, John Harvard in Harvard Yard, and The Minute Man in Concord, Massachusetts.


Guest Speaker: Dana Pilson – Curatorial Researcher, Chesterwood, the former summer home and studio of Daniel Chester French.

Dana Pilson has been working on curatorial projects at Chesterwood since 2011. She has researched the histories of Daniel Chester French’s Studio and Residence, and she has assisted with the organization of various exhibitions, including From the Minute Man to the Lincoln Memorial: The Timeless Sculpture of Daniel Chester French (2013, Concord Museum, Concord, MA) and Margaret French Cresson: Her Artistic Life and Legacy in Preserving Chesterwood (2019, Stockbridge Library, Museum, and Archives, Stockbridge, MA). She provided research and editorial support for the production of Harold Holzer’s recent biography, Monument Man: The Life and Art of Daniel Chester French. One of her current projects is transcribing the letters of Margaret French Cresson (daughter of Daniel Chester French). Prior to relocating to the Berkshires, she was a research assistant in the American Paintings and Sculpture Department at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Chesterwood, photo by Michael Lavin Flower.

In Preparation … Ms. Pilson has asked attendees to submit questions on Monument Man and French in advance of the October 17th book club meeting.  Kindly forward all questions to Thank you.

This program is supported by The Jo and Tony Nyzio Visiting Lecturer Fund. 




Please check back for scheduling updates for the “Renoir’s Dancer” meeting. We’ll still be discussing this book in the future – but the meeting date is TBD.

Original Date: Sat, June 6th, 2020 from 2-4pm

Renoir’s Dancer: The Secret Life of Suzanne Valadon by Catherine Hewitt

A biography of Suzanne Valadon, the illegitimate daughter of a provincial linen maid who became famous as a model for the Impressionists and later as a painter in her own right.

Guest Speaker TBA





Please check back for scheduling updates for the “Ninth Street Women” meeting.  We’ll still be discussing this book in the future – but the meeting date is TBD.

Original Date: Sat, October 17th, 2020 from 2-4pm

Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler by Mary Gabriel

Five painters and the movement that changed modern art.

Guest Speaker TBA




Sat, January 16th, 2021 from 2:30pm-4:30pm

(Note: This start time is 30 minutes later than usual).  

Guide to Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios by Valerie Balint (Princeton University Press, June 2020). A guidebook featuring 40+ American artists homes and studios that are open to the public.

The book is available through Amazon:

Guest Speaker: Author Valerie Balint

Valerie Balint is the Program Manager for Historic Artist’s Homes and Studios (HAHS), a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which is administered at Chesterwood (a founding member of HAHS). HAHS is a nation-wide consortium of 44-member sites, that were the home and working studios of American artists. Ms. Balint is author of the forthcoming guidebook on HAHS sites (Princeton Architectural Press, May 2020).

Prior to heading HAHS in beginning in spring 2017, Ms. Balint served for seventeen years on the curatorial staff at Frederic Church’s Olana (also a HAHS site), most recently as Interim Director of Collections and Research. She was co-organizer and co-curator of Olana’s annual exhibitions and accompanying publications. She is a frequent lecturer and writer on preserved artists’ spaces, Frederic Church, the Hudson River School, and American social history of the mid-19th and early 20th century. She is co-author of Glories of the Hudson: Frederic Church’s Views from Olana (Cornell Press, 2009). Her previous work also includes curatorial positions at Chesterwood and the Frelinghuysen Morris House & Studio (also a HAHS site). She served as the New York State Coordinator of “Save Outdoor Sculpture,” a program of the Smithsonian American Art Museum to document all public sculpture in the United States. Balint is a longtime advocate for recognizing and valuing the important place artists’ homes and public art hold within the greater context of cultural history in America.




Technical equipment for The Art Lovers Book Club is supported in part by a grant from the local cultural councils of Attleboro, North Attleborough and Norton, local agencies which are supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.



The following books have been discussed at the Attleboro Arts Museum’s Art Lovers Book Club:


January 2020: Spotlight on Frida Kahlo (assorted books). Guest Speaker: Suzanne Scanlan, Senior Lecturer, Rhode Island School of Design, Department of Theory + History of Art + Design. Supported by The Jo and Tony Nyzio Visiting Lecturer Fund.

Attendees read:

  • “Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo” by Hayden Herrera
  • “Forever Frida” by Kathy Cano-Murillo
  • “Kahlo” by Andrea Kettenmann
  • “Frida” by Barbara Mujica


October 2019: Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson. Featuring a screening of the documentary Ginerva’s Story. Supported by The Jo and Tony Nyzio Visiting Lecturer Fund. 

June 2019: The Art of Rivalry by Sebastian Smee. Guest Speaker: Michael Rose, art historian, gallerist, appraiser and the Gallery Manager at the Providence Art Club. This program was supported by The Jo and Tony Nyzio Visiting Lecturer Fund. 

April 2019: Artist Colonies – Assorted books. Guest Speaker: Artist Jane Lincoln, representing 21 in Truro –a group of women artists who annually convene in Truro, MA for a week of retreat, art-making and companionship. Supported by The Jo and Tony Nyzio Visiting Lecturer Fund.

Organizers suggested the following books:

  • A Place for the Arts: The MacDowell Colony, 1907-2007by Carter Wiseman
  • Call of the Coast: Art Colonies of New England (1st Edition)by Thomas Andrew Denenberg, Amy Kurtz Lansing and Susan Danly
  • The Good and Simple Life: Artist Colonies in Europe and America by Michael Jacobs

January 2019: Old Masters, New World: America’s Raid on Europe’s Great Pictures by Cynthia Saltzman. Speaker: Suzanne Scanlan, lecturer, Rhode Island School of Design – Department of History of Art and Visual Culture. Supported by The Jo and Tony Nyzio Visiting Lecturer Fund. 


October 2018: Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies by Ross King. Speaker: Artist Andrew Nixon.

June 2018: The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland. Featuring a screening of the short film Bone Wind Fire by Canadian filmmaker and artist Jill Sharpe. This program was presented in partnership with DoubleACS and supported by The Jo and Tony Nyzio Visiting Lecturer Fund. 

April 2018: You Must Change Your Life, The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin by Rachel Corbett. Speaker: Author Rachel Corbett presented and was available for a book signing.  

January 2018: The Life and Art of Maud Lewis: Two short films on Lewis, provided by Canadian author Lance Woolaver, were shown: “Maud Lewis: World Without Shadows,”a short documentary from the National Film Board of Canada, and “The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis,” by Lance Woolaver, also from the National Film Board of Canada.  Book Club organizers suggested:

  • “Maud Lewis – The Heart on the Door” by Lance Woolaver
  • “The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis” by Lance Woolaver
  • “The Painted House of Maud Lewis: Conserving a Folk Art Treasure” by Laurie Hamilton


October 2017: The Auctioneer: Adventures in the Art Trade by Simon de Pury. Speaker: Chris Barber, Deputy Director of American Furniture & Decorative Arts at Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers.  

June 2017: The Art of the Wyeth Family – assorted books. Speaker: Artist Diane Savino provided an egg tempera demonstration – allowing book club guests to view the working methods and medium of Andrew Wyeth and his brother-in-law Peter Hurd.  

April 2017: Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner. Speaker: Renee C. Harding, Professor Fashion Design, Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

January 2017: Discovering the Great Masters: The Art Lover’s Guide to Understanding Symbols in Paintings by Paul Crenshaw.  Speaker: Author Paul Crenshaw – Associate Professor, Department of Art History; Chair, Department of Art and Art History, Providence College. (Photo right: Professor Crenshaw at AAM event on January 28th)



September 2016: The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro. Author B. A. Shapiro returned to the Art Lovers Book Club and presented on her new novel – The Muralist(Photo: B. A. Shapiro at Museum’s book signing)

June 2016: Tulipomania – The Story of the World’s Most Coveted Flower & The Extraordinary Passions It Aroused by Mike Dash. Speaker: Carol Govan of the New England Society of Botanical Artists (NESBA) presented on the history of botanical art and illustration – with a focus on the tulip.

April 2016: Rembrandt’s Whore, a novel by Silvie Matton.  Screening of the BBC documentary “The Power of Art – Rembrandt.”

January 2016: Jewels: A Secret History by Victoria Finlay.  Speaker: Laura Johnson of Historic New England presented on the history of gems, Victorian gem language and the language of flowers in jewelry.


September 2015: Georgia O’Keeffe by Nancy J. Scott.  Speaker: Author Nancy J. Scott, Associate Professor of Art History, Brandeis University.

June 2015: The Lady in Gold, The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Anne-Marie O’Connor. Speaker: Author Anne-Marie O’Connor.

March 2015: The Painter’s Chair: George Washington and the Making of American Art by Hugh Howard. Speaker: Margaret O’Connor – Executive Director, Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum.

January 2015: The Unknown Rockwell: A Portrait of Two American Families by James A. Buddy Edgerton and Nan O’Brien.  Speaker: Mary Lou Hannon of ArtMatters.


September 2014: Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland.  Speaker: Jeanne M. Pelletier, Preservation Advisor, Campaign for the Ayer Mansion, Inc.  Presentation: At Home with Louis Comfort Tiffany – The Residential Work of a Master Craftsman.

June 2014: Looking Into Van Gogh. Van Gogh’s Letters edited by H. Anna Suh, and/or, The Yellow House – Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Provence by Martin Gayford.  Screening of the BBC documentary – Van Gogh.

April 2014: Focus on Collecting and the Story of Herb & Dorothy Vogel.  Participants read “To Collect In Earnest: The Life and Work of Electra Havemeyer Webb” by Lauren B. Hewes and Celia Y. Oliver, and other suggested texts.  Speaker: Alison W. Chang – Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow at the RISD Museum in Providence, RI. Ms. Chang has curated Fifty Works for Rhode Island: The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection.  Related program: Screening of the documentary Herb & Dorothy 50 x50 by Megumi Sasaki.

January 2014: “The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro.  A presentation, discussion and book signing by the author.  Download praise for The Art Forger


September 2013: The Lost Painting: The Quest For a Caravaggio Masterpiece” by Jonathan Harr.  Speaker: Suzanne Scanlan – Lecturer, Rhode Island School of Design, Department of History of Art and Visual Culture.  Presentation: “The Seventeenth-Century Arc of, and Controversies Surrounding, Caravaggio’s Life and Work.”

May/June 2013: “Tom & Jack: The Intertwined Lives of Jackson Pollock & Thomas Hart Benton” by Henry Adams.  A presentation, discussion and book signing by author Henry Adams.

April 2013: The book club focused on photography – attendees selected their own books on a particular photographer or school of photography.
Speaker: Frances Jakubek, Associate Director of the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA.  Presentation: Photographers that have greatly influenced the speaker’s personal work and her work at the Griffin Museum.

January 2013: “Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists” by Anthony M. Amore.  A presentation and discussion by author Anthony Amore, Head of Security and Chief Investigator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Attendees also read:

  • “The Forger’s Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century” by Edward Dolnick
  • “The Man Who Made Vermeers: Unvarnishing the Legend of Master Forger Han van Meegeren” by Jonathan Lopez


September 2012: “The Greater Journey – Americans in Paris” by David McCullough
Speaker: Gretchen Sinnett, Assistant Professor in Art + Design at Salem State University.  Presentation: “The Work of Artist Mary Cassatt.”

May 2012: “John James Audubon – The Making of an American” by Richard Rhodes
Speaker: Julianne Mehegan of the Mass Audubon Visual Arts Center, Canton, MA.

March 2012: “Near Andersonville” by Peter H. Wood & Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory by Holzer & Neely, Jr.  Speaker: Civil War historian Frank Daly.

January 2012: “The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson
Speaker: Alan Banks, Supervisory Park Ranger of the F. L. Olmsted National Historic Site. Presentation: “The Life & Artistic Contributions of Fredrick Law Olmstead.”


October 2011: “Grant Wood, A Life” by R. Tripp Evans
Speaker: Author Tripp Evans was our guest speaker, and was available for a book signing. Books were sold in the Museum’s gift shop.

April 2011: “Aesop’s Mirror” by Maryalice Huggins
Speaker: Author Maryalice Huggins. Ms. Huggins was available for a book signing. Books were sold in the Museum’s gift shop.

January 2011: Spotlight on John Singer Sargent

  • “Sargent’s Daughters” by Erica E. Hirshler
  • “I Am Madame X” by Gloria Diliberto
  • “Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X” by Deborah Davis

Screening: Sickert and Sargent: Britain’s Masters of Modern Art, by Waldemar Januszczak


Nov 2010:The Monuments Men” by Robert Edsel
Speaker: Dr. Joyce Ballad, Professor of History, Bristol Community College

July 2010: “The Secret Supper” by Javier Sierra
Screening: The Private Life of a Masterpiece, BBC documentary

April 2010: “Loving Frank” by Nancy Horan
Speaker: Nancy Allison, Founder, Newbridge Architecture

Jan 2010: “Picasso’s War” by Russell Martin
Speaker: Ann Murray, (Former) Wheaton College Professor of Art and Director of the Watson & Gallery


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