Benedikt Taschen

2013 Honoree: Visionary award

Benedikt TaschenBenedikt Taschen – the publisher who revolutionized the illustrated book market.” —Le Monde, Paris Benedikt Taschen’s professional life started at age 18 in a 250-square-foot store in Cologne, Germany that he named TAS CHEN COMICS. In 1984, he took a gamble by purchasing 40,000 remainder copies of a Magritte monograph in English; within months, the books had sold at double the price, enabling him to start publishing his own art books. By the end of the 1980s, TAS CHEN titles were available in over a dozen languages at pricesthat finally made art books affordable for art lovers around the world.

In 1999, Vanity Fair deemed Taschen “one of the few people in business who has the courage to do exactly what he wants whenever he wants to”—a theory he tested with Helmut Newton’s SUMO, the largest bound book of the 20th century. “I have done a lot of books, and I can tell you... that publishers are not all like him. There are very few like him. Or there are none like him,” Newton told Vanity Fair. SUMO is the company’s most successful title of the last ten years and was the precursor to Benedikt Taschen’s most ambitious personal project: GOAT – Greatest of All Time, an 800-page tribute to Muhammad Ali that tipped the scales at 75 pounds. In recent years, TAS CHEN has diversified into new fields such as cuisine and children’s books, and hascontinued to produce books like Sebastião Salgado’s GENESIS, which critics are calling “one of the most ambitious projects in the history of photography”.

Today, TAS CHEN has offices in Cologne, Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and Hong Kong, as well as 12 stores around the world, from Beverly Hills, New York, and Miami to London, Brussels, Paris, and Berlin. Worldwide, the company employs two hundred staff and continues to grow. TAS CHEN is pushing boundaries in modern publishing through its prized Collector’s Editions and refusal to compromise on quality. As Matt Weiner, the creator of the hit show Mad Men, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal: “Benedikt Taschen is a miracle of taste in publishing.... He consistently maintains incredible quality in content and style... he documents the present and the past in an indispensable way.”.