Friday, September 3, 2010

Treasure Trove of Taschen

The UK newspaper The Independent has a photo feature celebrating German art publishing house Taschen, and that occasions a bit of a salute here on Weimar World Service.

This web blog loves good books, and it also loves a quality success story.
Taschen Books publishes tons of very reasonably priced books on topics ranging from high-brow to low-brow. The Independent notes the publishing house's growth into an art house publishing giant, and it certainly is that. It produces many, many beautifully illustrated, well-designed, colorful books (hardcover and softcover, coffee-table-sized and pocket-sized), filled with rare photos and artwork. Taschen books are treasures.

The topics have covered everything from What Great Paintings Say to Caravaggio to Frank Lloyd Wright to, well, um, The Big Penis Book (which is about exactly what you think it is). But a sweet spot for the company is design and architecture, and it has tons of books on cities, artists, furniture, architecture, and related topics. Whether you're a modernist or a traditionalist or (like me) a lover of a mix of both, Taschen has something for you.

And why is it worth celebrating, besides its quality, breadth, and bravery? Because the company got its start as ... (drum roll) ... a comics shop.

Yup. From such a humble beginning grew a huge, multi-lingual, multi-national, high-end publisher. It's a pleasure to see the company still around, still being provocative and high-quality (despite the many imitators) more than 30 years after it began.

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