THE GREAT BOOK OF FRENCH IMPRESSIONISM by Diane Kelder (Abbeville, $85). It's true that books with fancy prices and fat formats can be a useless and ostentatious addition to the coffee table, but this one is a beauty and worth buying -- provided your table can accomodate it (12 by 15 inches). Kelder presents the vast range of l9th-century, mostly French, painting from Ingres' Odalisque to Cezanne's The Large Bathers . She charts the sources (Turner, Delacroix, Corot) and the tributaries as well as the main stream of the Impressionist and Post-impressionist movements with intelligent text and lustrous reproductions of the major works -- the next best thing to an afternoon at the Jeu de Paume. THE GREAT BOOK OF IMPRESSIONISM, by Horst Keller (Hudson Hills, $50). Although a picture book, this second "Great Book" has a test of equal importantce. Horst Keller, director of the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne, discusses the lives and ideas of the painters who were either peripherally or directly involved in Impressionism. His greatest contribution is an intelligent criticism of the individual paintings; he points out the significant details of seminal works such as Manet's Argenteuil and Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Ille de la Grande Jatte . He analyzes them brush stroke by brush stroke, teaching us to look at paintings -- the light here, the contract there, the juxtaposition of dots of color there. BRAQUE, by Raymond Cogniat (Abrams, $32.50). Musical instruments, bowls of fruit, flowers -- all splinter. The human figure is broken down into its components, each seen from a different perspective. Paint merges with crayon and scraps of newspaper in severe, elegant collages. In this volume in Abrams' Library of Great Painters, we see the progression of Braque's work from his Post-Impressionist fauvism to the highly analytical cubism he practiced almost up until his death in 1963. For most of his career, Braque painted self-contained, often domestic, worlds -- the arrangement of food and crockery on a table, a collection of musical instruments, the ordered disorder of a billard table. His world was closed and classical. Cogniat's text supplies both a cogent analysis of Braque's work and an absorbing account of his life. Inserted throughout are 121 illustrations, including 48-full color plates.