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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.
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.
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 1 selling 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 Hockney, David LaChapelle, Sebastião Salgado, Annie Leibovitz and the Rolling Stones, often reaching ten times their original price within a few years.
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.
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, conceived in collaboration with artists and designers as Albert Oehlen, Beatriz Milhazes, Jonas Wood, Marc Newson, Mark Grotjahn, Philippe Starck, and Toby Ziegler, are located in:
Between 2014 and 2018, Taschen owned and curated its own 6,000-square feet art gallery space in Los Angeles, featuring exhibitions on Michael Muller, Mick Rock, Ellen von Unwerth and Albert Watson. The publishing house employs more than 250 staff members worldwide and many longtime freelance editors.
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Categories: Book publishing companies of Germany | Companies based in Cologne | Erotic photography | Mass media in Cologne | Publishing companies established in 1980 | Visual arts publishing companies | Companies based in North Rhine-Westphalia | German brands | Mass media companies of Germany | Multinational companies headquartered in Germany | Multinational publishing companies | Privately held companies of Germany