A private collection of the caliber of that of German publisher Benedikt Taschen allows us to approach the art of a particular moment in history from a new point of view. Highlighting artists and works that museums and other institutions may have ignored, the personal choice of the collector often follows a path divergent from that of the art establishment. Hence the great interest by MNCARS in bringing important private collections, such as those of Ileana Sonnabend, Ernst Beyeler and Panza di Biumo, to the general public.
Benedikt Taschen began seriously building his personal collection in 1985, through his involvement in the contemporary art world. His collection is limited to a small number of artists by whom Taschen owns a great number of pieces. This concentration both traces the development of the work of a few over time and allows us to explore their scope and vision in greater depth. Among the best-represented artists of the collection are Germans Albert Oehlen and Martin Kippenberger, with more than a hundred works each, and the American artists Jeff Koons and Mike Kelley.
Additionally, Taschen owns many quality pieces representing key artists from the generation that emerged in the 1980s and is still active today. Among them: German photographer Thomas Struth, German multi-media artist Günther Förg, American photographer Cindy Sherman, American painter Christopher Wool, and German-born (settled in England) photographer Wolfgang Tillmans, not to forget photography doyens Julius Shulman and Helmut Newton, as well as other artists like Elmer Batters and Eric Stanton.
In addition to collecting their work, Benedikt Taschen has had the privilege of establishing close professional and personal relationships with all of these artists, collaborating on books and projects related to his publishing house.
With the exception of those who have visited the Taschen family’s home or publishing house in Cologne, the general public has never before had access to his collection. Not only has the present collection never been shown, but not a single piece has been lent to an outside institution before now. Comprising over a hundred pieces, including many of unusually large scale, the exhibition represents the best of the artists and the collection as a whole.
—Marga Paz, MNCARS, Madrid
"La colección de Benedikt. Los tesoros artísticos del editor alemán Benedikt Taschen salen por fin ala luz pública. Procedente de sus residencias y del imponente palacio que alberga su editorial en Colonia, la colección privada de Benedikt Taschen promete animar (¡y cómo!) el otoño artístico madrileño, La exposición que anuncia para est mismo mes el Museo Reina Sofía está centrada en los pocos, pero fundamentales artistas que el editor más popular del mundo ha coleccionado con pasión de voyeur impenitente, adquiriendo piezas clave de la trayectoria de Jeff Koons, Albert Oehlen, Christopher Wool, Günther Förg, Helmut Newton, Mike Kelley o Cindy Sherman. Una parte dedicada a la obra de Martin Kippenberger, se mostrará de forma separada en el Palacio Velázquez del Parque del retiro."
— Chic, Madrid