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Phaidon is a global publisher of books on art, architecture, photography, design, performing arts, decorative arts, fashion, film, travel, and contemporary culture, as well as cookbooks and children’s books.

Phaidon Press
FounderBela Horovitz and Ludwig Goldscheider
Country of originAustria
Headquarters locationLondon and New York City
DistributionPenguin Random House Distribution (UK, Australia)
Hachette Client Services (US)[1]
LKG (Germany)
SODIS (France)
CB (Netherlands)
OLF (Switzerland)
Messaggerie Libri (Italy)
Jonathan Ball Publishers (South Africa)[2]
Key peopleLeon Black (Owner)
Keith Fox (CEO)
Philip Ruppel (COO)
Deborah Aaranson (VP, Publisher)
Emilia Terragni (Editorial Director)
Julia Hasting (Creative Director)
Judith Regan (Head of the Regan Arts division)
Publication typesbooks, magazines


Early historyEdit

Phaidon was founded in Vienna in 1923 as a history and art-book publisher. The founders, Dr Bela Horovitz and Ludwig Goldscheider named the company Phaidon (the German form of Phaedo) after Phaedo of Elis, a pupil of Socrates, to reflect their love of classical antiquity and culture. Their first titles were on literature, philosophy and history. Phaidon's large-format art books first emerged in 1937 with the issue of high quality plates on works by Vincent van Gogh, Sandro Botticelli, and the French Impressionists. They successfully achieved their goal of beautifully designed yet affordable books by pioneering the international co-edition and doing large print runs.[3][4]

Move to England and revivalEdit

To avoid the effects of the Nazi annexation of Austria, Horovitz and Goldscheider moved their company to England in the late 1930s. In 1950, Phaidon published what would become one of the most influential titles in the art world and the best selling art book of all times.[5] The Story of Art by Ernst Gombrich has, since its publication in 1950, sold more than 7 million copies[5] and been translated into more than 20 languages.[6]

Following the sudden death of Horovitz in 1955, Phaidon was held at the helm by his son-in-law, Harvey Miller. A decade later in 1967, it was acquired by Encyclopædia Britannica. From 1974 to 1981, Phaidon was owned by Elsevier, when it was sold in a management buyout. It started to decline until it was acquired by entrepreneur Richard Schlagman in 1990.

Schlagman's goal was to return Phaidon to its original values of affordable, high quality publications. His program – which included new books, new editions, and a larger business operation – led to rapid growth and helped re-establish Phaidon as the premier publisher of the creative arts in content, design, and production.[7]

The design team at Phaidon played a key role in the company’s success. Schlgmann brought in renowned designer Alan Fletcher to be the creative lead. In 1998 Fletcher hired the young German designer Julia Hasting[8], who changed the course and began focusing on conceptual book design, emphasizing the art book as an object. This approach was also translated into the architecture and photography books, as well as the cookery program[9].

In 1995 Iwona Blazwick conceived Phaidon's Contemporary Artists Series, a series of monographs on influential and emerging contemporary artists dubbed by Artforum as "The boldest, best executed, and most far-reaching publishing project devoted to contemporary art".[10]

In 2009, Phaidon acquired the film magazine Cahiers du cinéma.


In 2005, the editorial director of Phaidon Press, Emilia Terragni, worked on the translation of the Silver Spoon (Il cucchiaio d'argento) from its native Italian into English. The book sold more than a million copies[11] and quickly became an international bestseller thrusting Phaidon into cookery publishing and extending its reputation beyond its traditional subject areas.

Following the success of Silver Spoon, Terragni, dubbed as “Phaidon’s Queen of Cookbooks” by the Wall Street Journal,[12] went on to match top photographers and designers with some of the biggest names in modern gastronomy. Some of its most notable books were written by the chefs from the World’s 50 Best Restaurants including Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz, Magnus Nilsson of Fäviken and all three #1 winners: Noma’s Rene Redzepi, elBulli’s Ferran Adrià, and most recently[vague] Osteria Francescana’s Massimo Bottura.


Phaidon was purchased by Leon Black and family in 2012 with the long term plan of ensuring its continued position as the leading publisher of the visual arts, cookery, and children books.[13]

Based in London and New York City, Phaidon has offices in Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Milan and Tokyo. With over 1500 titles in print, Phaidon sells its books in over 100 countries and publishes them in English, French, Spanish, Japanese and German.


  1. ^ Hachette - Our Clients
  2. ^ Contact the Sales Team - Phaidon
  3. ^ "Phaidon: Home of the Visual Arts". Phaidon. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  4. ^ "The Art Books of Phaidon Press". AbeBooks. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Skidelsky, William. "Picture Perfect". The Guardian.
  6. ^ "The Story of Art". Phaidon Press. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  7. ^ "About". Phaidon Press.
  8. ^ de Klee, Katie (December 11, 2015). "Julia Hasting: The unusual book designer". Design Indaba. Under her guidance, Phaidon has gained a reputation for making unusually artistic books.
  9. ^ Sinclair, Mark (January 29, 2015). "Thought for food". Creative Review. Thanks to its heritage in art publishing, when Phaidon moved into food and cookery books the results were always going to be appetising
  10. ^ "Paul McCarthy" Phaidon Press. Accessed 9 October 2016
  11. ^ Swanson, Clare. "A Decade of Silverspoon".
  12. ^ "Emilia Terragni: Phaidon's Queen of Cookbooks". The Wall Street Journal.
  13. ^ Lattman, Peter. "Billionaire Financier Leon Black Buys Art Publisher Phaidon". NYTimes.

External linksEdit