In the year 1980, an entrepreneurial-minded eighteen-year-old opened a comic book shop in his native Cologne to sell and trade from his massive collection. Within a year he was publishing catalogs promoting his wares, and then in 1984 a breakthrough occurred: he purchased 40,000 remainder copies of a René Magritte book with text only in English, reselling them for a fraction of their original price. The success of this daring move proved that he was not alone in thinking that the art-book market needed to be democratized. Why should cultural enlightenment be reserved for the wealthy? Soon he began reprinting books under his own name for budget prices and the next year he published his first original art book, Picasso.
Starting in the late 1980s, his company established subsidiaries around the world and continued to cement its reputation as a publisher of excellent-value art books while branching out into new areas such as architecture, design, photography, lifestyle, and classics. The young man's name was, of course, Benedikt Taschen, and under his leadership the TASCHEN brand has grown into one of the most successful and unique publishers in the global market, distributed worldwide in over twenty languages.
In 1999, TASCHEN entered a new era with the first of many oversized limited editions, Helmut Newton's SUMO (copy #1, signed by over 80 celebrities featured in it, fetched over $320,000 at auction and set the world record for the most expensive book published in the 20th century). Since then, we at TASCHEN have continued on our mission to enrich the world of books by offering a colorful variety of lavish limited editions, affordable titles, and now even e-books, with choices for many tastes and budgets.
Our 25th Anniversary collection, launched in 2005, was so successful that it has been extended past our 30th anniversary. An ever-growing number of TASCHEN stores worldwide has helped us establish a direct relationship with our readers, giving anyone and everyone a place to come and discover our universe of books.
TASCHEN has, with your help, become a household name. Dear readers, without whom we would be nothing: count on TASCHEN to lead the way to a more diverse, tolerant, and enlightened future!