Butler Museum Publishes Book of Art, Poetry by Kim Novak

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A book of poetry, art and photographs created and compiled by Hollywood legend Kim Novak is now on sale exclusively through The Butler Institute of American Art.

In a unique arrangement that speaks to the Youngstown museum’s close relationship with the actor, Novak enlisted the Butler to publish the book. She has also specified that all proceeds from its sale go to the museum to support its operations.

“Kim Novak: Her Art and Life” can only be purchased at ButlerArt.com/shop and in-person at the Wick Avenue museum’s gift shop. The 156-page soft-cover book is printed on 12-inch by 10-inch glossy stock in full color, and sells for $100.48, or $138.07 for a signed copy.

Wendy Swick, spokesperson for The Butler, said the book is like a personal scrapbook that Novak has put together for her fans.

“Kim is very dedicated to her art,” Swick said. “It’s her way of dealing with all of her emotions and it’s very personal between her and her fans.”

“Kim Novak: Her Art and Life” is a 156-page book of poetry, art and photographs.

The 88-year-old Novak rose to fame in the 1950s by making films with the likes of Frank Sinatra, James Stewart and Rita Hayworth, but she was always an artist and poet at her core, Swick said. At this stage of Novak’s life, some fans might have been expecting a tell-all book loaded with Hollywood stories, Swick said, but what they are getting is a peek at Novak’s heart and soul.

“The book is a compilation of her life, and her art is pretty much her life,” Swick said. “A lot of her feelings and emotions are compiled in the book… Her heart is in it.”

The book was designed and printed by Piper’s Printing of Canfield.

The Butler only occasionally publishes books. In addition to its Masterworks volumes, which highlight the museum’s collection of art, it has also published catalogs to accompany high-profile exhibitions.

Louis Zona, executive director and chief curator of The Butler, said the museum is proud to serve as the publisher of Novak’s book.

“She is a star in every sense of the word and her unique abilities as a painter, as well as a legendary actress comes through loud and clear in the pages of ‘Kim Novak: Her Life and Art,’ ” he said. “She is truly special in every way and we are grateful to have played a small part in her remarkable career.”

The planning for the book came about during Novak’s retrospective exhibition, Kim Novak: An Iconic Vision, in the summer of 2019 as part of The Butler’s 100th anniversary celebration. The exhibition was a retrospective collection of over 75 pieces of Novak’s artwork.

The museum also presented an exhibition of Novak’s paintings titled Kim Novak: Pastel Paintings in 2014.

Before she became an actor, Novak was an artist. She won a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago but instead took up modeling and later moved to Hollywood to pursue an acting career.

Her breakthrough film, “Picnic,” came in 1956, making her the No. 1 box office star in the world for three years.

She was in the hit movie “Pal Joey” with Frank Sinatra and Rita Hayworth in 1957. In 1958, Novak appeared in her most famous role in the Alfred Hitchcock film “Vertigo” with James Stewart.

She walked away from her film career in 1966, when she was still at her peak, because she was wary of losing her identity to the Hollywood lifestyle.

She moved to Big Sur, Calif., that year to create a lifestyle in harmony with nature and to pursue her love of painting and writing poetry. She only sporadically appeared in film and television roles afterward.

Pictured at top: “Kim Novak: Her Art and Life” is available exclusively through The Butler Institute of American Art.

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