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|Country of origin||Germany|
(including Ingram Publisher Services (US) and Littlehampton Book Services (UK))
|Key people||Benedikt Taschen, Marlene Taschen|
|Publication types||Art books|
|No. of employees||250|
The company began as Taschen Comics, publishing Benedikt’s comic collection. Taschen has been a pioneer in making lesser-seen art available to mainstream bookstores, including some fetishistic imagery, queer art, historical erotica, pornography and adult magazines (including multiple books with Playboy magazine). The firm has brought potentially controversial art into broader public view, publishing it alongside its more mainstream books of comics reprints, art photography, painting, design, fashion, advertising history, film, and architecture.
In 1985, Taschen introduced the Basic Art series with an inaugural title on Salvador Dalí. The series today comprises over 100 titles available in up to thirty languages, each about a separate artist, from classical to contemporary. Further series followed, alongside an expansion into new themes like architecture, design, film, and lifestyle. As an example, the firm also publishes a “Basic Architecture” series in the same style as “Basic Art” that covers some of the most prominent architects in history.
A focus on male artistsEdit
In the spring of 2014, the firm’s Basic Art Series was criticised in Swedish public media for its focus on male artists. The series then consisted of 95 books, only 5 of which were about female artists. Malmö Konsthall in Sweden was the first institution to report the disparity highlighted by the artists Ditte Ejlerskov and EvaMarie Lindahl.
The Helmut Newton SUMOEdit
Signed and limited to 10,000 copies, the folio-sized publication quickly sold out and later became the most expensive book published in the 20th century, with SUMO copy number 1selling at auction for $304,000.
This book paved the way for Taschen’s GOAT – Greatest Of All Time, an homage to Muhammad Ali, which Der Spiegel called “the biggest, heaviest, most radiant thing ever printed in the history of civilization.”
Further Collector’s Editions followed, including titles with Nobuyoshi Araki, Peter Beard, David LaChapelle, Sebastião Salgado, Annie Leibovitz and the Rolling Stones, often reaching ten times their original price within a few years.
Taschen Basic ArtEdit
Taschen Basic ArchitectureEdit
Taschen Basic Architecture is a series of books on architects, published by Taschen. Each book looks at a different architect, with a biography, and pictures of their work.
Taschen’s Bibliotheca universalis is a series of popular art works in an affordable (about 15 euros) hardback format (14 x 19,5 cm). They are generally trilingual, with texts and legends in English, German and French. Some books are also published in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.
Offices and storesEdit
Through the mid- to late 1990s, the company’s sales structure was expanded through the opening of stores in other cities. Dedicated flagship Taschen bookstores, designed by Philippe Starck and Marc Newson (Milan), are located in:
- Beverly Hills
- Dallas (Taschen Library)
- Los Angeles
- Lyon (France)
- New York City
The firm has publishing offices in Berlin, Cologne, London, Paris, Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
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- Jessica Berens: “A passion for Taschen” in The Observer, 4 November 2001.