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Taschen logo (black).svg
Founded1980; 43 years ago (1980)
FounderBenedikt Taschen
Country of originGermany
Headquarters locationCologne
(including Ingram Publisher Services (US)[2] and Littlehampton Book Services (UK)[3])
Key peopleBenedikt Taschen
Marlene Taschen
Publication typesArt books
Nonfiction topicsArts
No. of employees250
Official websitewww.taschen.com

Taschen is a luxury art book publisher founded in 1980 by Benedikt Taschen in Cologne, Germany.[4] As of January 2017, Taschen is co-managed by Benedikt and his eldest daughter, Marlene Taschen.


Taschen headquarters on Hohenzollernring 53, Cologne

The company began as Taschen Comics, publishing Benedikt's comic collection. Taschen focuses on making lesser-seen art available to mainstream bookstores, including 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.[5]

Taschen publications are available in a various sizes, from oversized tomes to small pocket-sized books. The company has also produced calendars, address books, and postcards sets.[6]

In 1985, Taschen introduced the Basic Art series with an inaugural title on Salvador Dalí.[7] Today's series comprises over 100 titles available in up to 30 languages, each about a separate artist, from classical to contemporary.[8] Further series followed, alongside an expansion into new themes like architecture, design, film, and lifestyle. For 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.[9]

Focus on male artists[edit]

In the spring of 2014, the firm's Basic Art Series was criticized in Swedish public media for its focus on male artists. The series then consisted of 95 books, only five of which were female artists. Malmö Konsthall in Sweden was the first institution to report the disparity highlighted by the artists Ditte Ejlerskov and EvaMarie Lindahl.[10][11][12]

The Helmut Newton SUMO[edit]

In 1999, Taschen expanded to the luxury market with the Helmut Newton SUMO.[13]

Signed and limited to 10,000 copies, the folio-sized publication quickly sold out. It later became the most expensive book published in the 20th century,[14] with SUMO copy number 1 selling at auction for $304,000.[15]

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."[16]

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.[17]


Taschen Basic Art[edit]

Taschen Basic Architecture[edit]

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.[18]

Bibliotheca Universalis[edit]

Taschen's Bibliotheca Universalis is a series of famous artworks in an affordable (about 15 euros) hardback format (14 x 19.5 cm).[19] They are generally trilingual, with English, German and French texts and legends. Some books are also published in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.[citation needed]


Through the mid-to-late 1990s, the company expanded by opening stores in other cities. Dedicated flagship Taschen bookstores, conceived in collaboration with artists and designers such as Albert Oehlen, Beatriz Milhazes, Jonas Wood, Marc Newson, Mark Grotjahn, Philippe Starck, and Toby Ziegler, are located in:

  • Beverly Hills
  • Berlin
  • Brussels
  • Cologne
  • Dallas (Taschen Library)
  • Hong Kong
  • Los Angeles
  • London
  • Madrid
  • Miami
  • Milan
  • New York City
  • Paris
  • Vancouver

The firm has publishing offices in Berlin, Cologne, London, Paris, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong.[5][9]

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.[20] The publishing house employs more than 250 staff members worldwide and many freelance editors.[21][22]

General bibliography[edit]

  • Bernhard, Brendan (11 September 2002). "Sex & Beauty, Art & Kitsch: The Exquisite Mayhem of Benedikt Taschen". LA Weekly. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
  • Kirkpatrick, David D. (7 January 2002). "Price Cutting and Oversupply Imperil Art Book Houses". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 May 2008.


  1. ^ TASCHEN. "TASCHEN Books: Contact us". Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Publishers We Work With - Book Distribution | Ingram Content Group". Archived from the original on 7 September 2018. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Our Clients". Littlehampton Books Services. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  4. ^ Taschen: The Art of Making Books Archived 24 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ a b Degen Pener: Taschen Books Chief Reveals New Projects, Talks 'Fifty Shades' and $12M Books, published in The Hollywood Reporter, 25 November 2014
  6. ^ LinkedIn: Company Profile
  7. ^ Basic Art Series – The classic TASCHEN book
  8. ^ "Basic Art Series 2.0 – The classic TASCHEN book". TASCHEN. 8 February 2018.
  9. ^ a b Giles, Oliver. "Why Taschen Opened Its First Asia Store In Hong Kong". Hong Kong Tatler. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Malmö Konsthall". Konsthall.malmo.se. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  11. ^ NODE, André Pahl (25 April 2014). "Kunstkritikk — Taschen under Fire". Kunstkritikk.com. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  12. ^ "About: Blank Pages – feminist history in the making at Malmö Konsthall". Culturenordic.com. 5 May 2014. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014.
  13. ^ Michals, Susan. "Benedikt Taschen's Risky Business". WSJ. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  14. ^ Karin Nelson: "Now Available in Small", The New York Times, 23 August 2009, retrieved 13 September 2017
  15. ^ Marina Cashdan: "Artist edition books", in How to Spend It, 26 May 2015.
  16. ^ Thomas Hüetlin: "Alis letzter Sieg". Der Spiegel 41/2003.
  17. ^ TASCHEN: Collector's Editions Catalogue 2013 Archived 27 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ Hanlon, Patrick. "How Taschen Seriously Disrupts Bookselling With Amazing Brand Experiences". Forbes. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  19. ^ Bibliotheca Universalis: The World in Books, Taschen website (page visited on 3 September 2017).
  20. ^ "Taschen Grand Opening With David Bailey and the Rolling Stones", The Huffington Post, 17 December 2014.
  21. ^ Jessica Berens: "A passion for Taschen" in The Observer, 4 November 2001.
  22. ^ "L.A. Pop-up Gallery Pops Down". TASCHEN. 24 August 2018.

External links[edit]