Preview to a View

Landscape wallpaper

A likely apocryphal story, retold in Landscape Wallcoverings (Scala; $25), a new book from the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, holds that Gustave Flaubert "found the rigors of traveling so exhausting that he claimed he preferred to see the world from a couch while paintings of scenery were unfurled before him." (Imagine what he would have thought of television.) Today's armchair travelers would do well to get out and visit the galleries of the Cooper-Hewitt, in New York, where Rooms with a View: Landscape and Wallpaper (through October 14) presents a brilliant, three-century panorama of idealized, realistic, and abstract landscape images (including La Chasse au Faucon, 1794-97) produced expressly for the drawing room, dining room, and bedroom.