Friday, September 23, 2016

Women Who Read are Dangerous by Stefan Bollmann

Vittorio Matteo Corcos

Women Who Read are Dangerous is such a beautiful book that I wanted to share a bit of its gorgeousness with you.

The premise here is simple: reproduce paintings, sketches, and a photograph or two of women enjoying the company of a book. As I sat paging through these images I tried to imagine someone sketching me thereby including myself in the circle of dangerous women! 

Many of the artists and images were familiar to me but quite a few were not.  Each painting is accompanied by a brief commentary enlightening the reader as to the subject or the artist or putting the painting in historical context.

Here one will find women old and young, servants and saints, mothers and movie queens. You will see them reading in the bed, in the garden, in the boudoir, on the chaise lounge, in the library, or alone in a hotel room. Wherever dangerous women seek a quiet moment with a book.

Here are just a few that I was not familiar with: 

I love the boldness of this one.
Woman Reading
Erich Heckel

The color of her dress caught my eye here.

Details of
Madame de Pompadour1756
Francois Boucher

Who is that reflected in the glass of the cabinet door?
Karin Reading
Carl Larsson

I pretty much love anything by Matisse.
The Three Sisters
Henri Matisse

This woman has such a pleasant yet intent look.
Young Woman with Book
Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Deineka

The publishing information for this book is complicated. It was first published in German by Elisabeth Sandmann Verlag in 2005, then in English by Merrell Publishers, London, in 2006 and 2008. This American edition with a forward by Karen Joy Fowler was published in 2016 by Abbeville Press.

To further complicate things, Merrell's title was Reading Women and it is apparently exactly the same book as this one. You might also search for the book under that title.

By my count there are over sixty images to enjoy. I have most likely broken all sorts of copyright laws in reproducing these here, and I apologize for that, but I wanted you to see a small sampling of the visual treasures the book contains.

Kick back with Woman Who Read are Dangerous and enjoy the arrival of autumn.


  1. I want this book! I love art and even got to see The Three Sisters by Matisse when I was in Paris with my two sisters. :) Thanks for posting about this amazing book!

    1. It is a lovely book, Lark. How wonderful that three sisters gazed at The Three Sisters. I see that it is at Musee de l'Orangerie so maybe I have seen it too! What a great memory for you.

    2. It's a painting that always makes me smile. :)

    3. Absolutely! And now it will make me smile as well.

  2. I love these paintings! I've often googled Women Reading and the only one of these I've seen is the last (which I use for my avatar). I will look for this book. I don't know how you find these unusual books: they never come my way somehow.

    1. Kat, I love this book. So many delightful images. One wants to frame them all but then that would destroy the book which is a no-no. I have to thank my library for many of my finds. Always happy to share with everyone.

  3. This would indeed be a pleasure to page through. It reminds me of a wall calendar I treated myself to a couple of years ago, all art of women reading.

    1. Books and art, Kathy, books and art. Can't go wrong with that combination! Did you keep or frame any of the images from the calendar? I received a wall calendar as a gift a few Christmases ago. It didn't contain 'fine art' but the images seemed worthy of an art journal page or collage. I have kept it. It has glitter on some of the pages. I think most of the images were of birds. (As you can tell, I haven't used it for any project or I would remember what the images were...)

    2. I think I kept it, but I'm not sure! I have a small armoire in my office where I keep my art supplies and art inspiration--if I have it, it's in there. :)

    3. Hope you find it and can put it to artful use!