Benedikt Taschen, 1961, Cologne, Germany, is a German publisher. His professional life started at age 18 in a 250-square-foot (23 m2) store in Cologne, Germany, named TASCHEN COMICS. In 1984, he bought 4,000 remainder copies of a Magritte monograph published in English with money borrowed from his family. The books sold through at double the price in two months and he was soon publishing his own books. By the end of the 1980s TASCHEN titles were available in over a dozen languages at prices that made art books affordable to students and collectors alike.
By the late 1990s, he had become a household name in publishing. When Vanity Fair's Matt Tyrnauer deemed him, "one of the few people in business who has the courage to do exactly what he wants whenever he wants to", Benedikt Taschen tested the theory 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 - without mentioning names - that publishers are not all like him. There are very few like him. Or there are none like him. He is also, I might add, a madman", says Helmut Newton to Vanity Fair.
SUMO is also the company's most successful title of the last ten years and the precursor to Benedikt Taschen's most ambitious personal project: GOAT - Greatest of All Time, a tribute to Muhammad Ali, shipping in Spring 2004. Four years in the making, GOAT weighs 75 lbs and is 20" x 20" in size, with nearly 800 pages of archival and original photographs, graphic artwork and articles and essays - including those of Ali himself.
Another of his books is the 'Icons' series of art books, some of the most accessible in the world.
Today, TASCHEN has offices in Cologne, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Paris and Tokyo and stores in Amsterdam, Berlin, Beverly Hills, Brussels, Cologne, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Hollywood, London, Miami, New York, and Paris. TASCHEN employs 200 staff members worldwide and many longtime freelance editors. As Billy Wilder put it in Vanity Fair 2000: "Benedikt reminds me of an old-time Hollywood figure - a studio head, someone who is in firm command and has his hand in everything".
He is married and lives in the "Chemosphere", designed by John Lautner in 1960. He bought the home for US$1 million in 1997, restored the building, and published a book on Lautner. He lives and works in Cologne and Los Angeles.