With over 1,500 titles in print, Phaidon has long been the premier global producer of books focused on the creative arts. Headquartered in London and New York, the publisher collaborates with the world's most influential artists, chefs, writers and thinkers to produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel.
With a far-reaching global sales and distribution network, Phaidon books are sold in over 100 countries and are published in English, French, Spanish, Japanese and German.
Phaidon: Global producer of books focused on creative arts
Phaidon was founded by Dr. Bela Horovitz and Ludwig Goldscheider in 1923. Their first titles published were actually on literature, philosophy and history, as well as a German edition of Plato’s work. Keeping in line with philosophers, Horovitz took the German name of Phaidon, a pupil of Socrates and speaker in Plato's dialogue on the immortality of the soul. It reflects his love of classical antiquity and culture that is still reflected in Phaidon as a brand, with great attention paid to value and design. The brand delivers quality books at an affordable price and Goldscheider contributes to the elegant layout and handsome production.
During the 1930s the brand expanded to include works by historians Ranke, Mommsen and Burckhardt matched with beautiful photogravure plates. At the same time the first books on artists made their appearance with editions of the great nineteenth-century biographies of Raphael and Michelangelo, both by Grimm, and Velázquez, by Justi. One of the most classic Phaidon books was released in 1937 on Van Gogh, Botticelli and the French Impressionists. This was aimed at the British and American market, enabling the company to combine low price and high quality.
Phaidon moved to England during the 1940s with the arrival of the Second World War. Over the following 14 years books were published under publisher Sir Stanley Unwin and George Allan. After the war the company launched an innovative programme of scholarly and popular art publishing. This included the monumental critical catalogue of drawings in the royal collection at Windsor Castle, which began in 1942 and continued for the next thirty years and the elegant 'pocket' series of art history texts (now republished as 'Arts and Letters') appeared.
The first Phaidon Colour Plate book was published in 1951, making publishing history by having artists’ work in colour available to a wider audience. Phaidon’s best known title, The Story of Art first published in 1950, a one-volume survey of the history of art.
After Horovitz death in 1955, Phaidon was directed by his son Harvey Miller, who continued the traditions of scholarship and high quality producing fine monographs and catalogues, expanding the Colour Plate (now Colour Library) series and many of Gombrich's more scholarly titles.
Under the new ownership of Elsevier in the 1970s, Phaidon diversified into a range of areas, took on production and distribution of some Elsevier copyright titles and began to buy in titles from publishers abroad, as at the time art books were seen as unprofitable. While many great books were published the original strong and distinguished Phaidon identity had been lost. By 1990 Richard Schlagman acquired Phaidon Press with the view to re-establish it as the leading publisher of books on the visual arts. The establishment of a global sales programme and distribution operation resulted in positive growth. A return to the brand’s traditional values of excellent design and affordable prices was key to their renewed success and the books became known world-wide as being of the highest quality in terms of production, design and content.
In 2005 Phaidon expanded beyond its traditional subject areas to include the English publication of The Silver Spoon and the 2006 launch of the 'Wallpaper* City Guides', a major series of travel guides aimed at the brand’s core audience.
Finally a new era began in 2012 when Leon and Debra Black bought Phaidon with the objective of growing the company into the world's leading publisher of books in the visual arts, food and children's markets. The brand now runs a global sales and distribution network, selling in over 100 countries and publishing books in English, French, Spanish, Japanese and German, and a number of publishing partners in further languages. Today Phaidon has over 1,500 titles in print and the books are valued worldwide for their outstanding content and award winning production. Each book is designed meticulously and the content carefully curated and edited to showcase creativity and imagination to inspire us all.
Brought to you by Wallpaper* magazine’s travel experts, both in-house editors and on-the-ground correspondents. The 'Wallpaper* City Guide' is a tightly edited, discreetly packaged selection of city highlights for the design-conscious visitor. Divided into chapters such as 'Urban Life', 'Hotels', 'Architour' and 'Escapes', the 128-page pocket-sized guide covers landmark structures and iconic buildings, high-design restaurants, museums and cultural spaces, and hidden haunts as revealed by Wallpaper's insiders. Each entry consists of an informative text by a local writer, accompanied by a coloured photograph of the featured venue.
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