Art gifts

The best gifts art insiders have ever given, from a revered antique painting to a sassy hat


Welcome to 12 Days of Artmas, our new non-denominational holiday extravaganza – an Advent calendar with gift ideas and stories for art lovers of all stripes, every day until December 24.

To inspire your search for the perfect gift, we asked the art world what inspired gifts they are most proud to have given. Here is what they told us.

Bernard Lumpkin, collector

The best gift I have been grateful to share with the art world and beyond is the book Young, gifted and black: a new generation of artists, edited by my friend and contributor, Antwaun Sargent, and published by DAP. Now in its third printing, the book celebrates the artists, curators and critics who are reshaping the way we think about race and representation. They have taught me so much, and I get over it by sharing their voices and visions with others.

Neil Hamamoto, artist

FREE MOVIE BOOK SET, published by Worthless Studios.

the Free movie set of books, published by Worthless Studios.

As the Creative Director of Brooklyn-based nonprofit Worthless Studios, I edited two black and white photography books last year: Free movie: June 2020 and Free Movie United States. The books were released in 2021, and it’s been a fantastic gift to give. Each book shares images from analog photographers around the world on pressing issues that I believe are beneficial when viewed from multiple angles.

Alia Al-Senussi, collector

Alia Al-Senussi in Marfa.

Alia Al-Senussi in Marfa. Courtesy of Alia Al-Senussi.

I love sharing experiences, so I guess it sounds selfish, but the best gift I’ve ever given someone else has been for myself as well. I took my friends to Marfa on Roden crater, the Lightning field, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Korea — and each time, it was a tailor-made itinerary filled with all kinds of local touchpoints and quirks. And in fact, these routes are then passed on and passed away, so maybe they are the best gift?

Bringing my mother back to Egypt after she left 30 years earlier was incredibly special, as was the possibility of taking her to Siwa, where I started my life in the arts, and a stone’s throw from Libya (where I am. also took her for the first time). In fact, visiting Libya with my mother helped me see beyond the facade of sadness and truly embrace the sense of wonder and hope of a people who had been brutalized for too long.

Claire Sherman, artist

Photo by Claire Sherman

A photo of Cortis Harvey Galbraith. Courtesy of Claire Sherman.

I recently spent time trying to create digital archives for my family. My great-grandfather, Cortis Harvey Galbraith, was a photographer in Minneapolis. He traveled through Minnesota taking photos for families between 1890 and 1940, and some photos in the archives are from glass plates I scanned from his collection. My favorites are the photos he took of his own family and the places he loved in northern Minnesota, where our family still meets every summer.

Natacha Polaert, gallery owner

Claude Rutault, Niele Toroni and Natacha Polaert at the Hotel Grand Amour in 2017.

The best gift I have ever given are kisses to my beloved.

Vicky Chen, gallery owner

Vicky in Miami

Vicky Chen in Miami. Courtesy of Vicky Chen.

A gift for myself: A few years ago, I spontaneously flew to New York on my birthday just to attend the last day of one of my favorite artist’s solo exhibitions, and I was flew to Miami right after to enjoy the sun and the art. Basel.

Lawrence Van Hagen, advisor

laurence van hagan hat

The suede cap. Courtesy of Lawrence Van Hagen.

Last Christmas I gave my best clients a suede cap that artist Stefan Brüggemann and I designed especially as a Christmas present. Stefan is known for his text paintings, which are all written in black Arial type. During the pandemic, Stefan began using the slogan “DISCONNECTED ONLINE” in his paintings, and the phrase quickly became an iconic emblem as the world navigated from lockdown to lockdown, and many of us didn’t. could stay connected with loved ones only online. I thought the parody was great, and asked Stefan if we could design something with the phrase on it. He loved the idea and we came up with the coolest suede cap, with the slogan written on the front in his signature style. My friends and clients loved it so much. I still often meet them on the street and find them wearing it.

Fabrizio Moretti, reseller

Candido, <i>The Annunciation</i> (ca. 1585).

Pietro Candido, The Annunciation (around 1585).

The Annunciation, a painting by Pieter de Witte, better known as Pietro Candido, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in honor of Keith Christiansen.

Dan Palmer, curator

key dan palmer

The key Palmer gave Erizku. Courtesy of Dan Palmer.

I gave Awol Erizku an early 19th century wrought iron key from Zanzibar on the occasion of our exhibition together, “New Visions for Iris”. I walked around town with my wife and asked our favorite antique dealer to find exactly the right one. The gift has a deeply personal meaning for me and Awol, who I hoped would express my gratitude for our dialogue and serve as a special token of our collaboration and friendship.

Alia Williams, dealer

black futures

A good art book, like Unrealism Where Black futures, always hits the right note. I also like to give a beautiful bouquet of flowers for all occasions.

Previous stories in this series:

Who couldn’t use the gift tips from the cosmos? We consulted 5 experts in art and astrology

If you are looking for a perfume to give as a gift, we suggest a bottle of Chanel n ° 5, an icon and a muse of artists who are celebrating their 100th anniversary.

Still shopping for the art and fashion lovers in your life? Check out this chic Merch museum (Think The Met x Brother Vellies)

For travelers, think of luggage designed by Virgil Abloh that reinvents the heritage of Louis Vuitton

On the first day of Artmas my true love gave me… a step by step guide to gifting an NFT

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest news, eye-opening interviews and cutting-edge reviews that keep the conversation going.