Each title from the Basic Art Series provides a comprehensive introduction to a significant artist, architect, or designer. The publications offer a detailed chronological summary of the artist’s life and work and analyze their historical importance and cultural legacy.
From Bauhaus to Bacon, the series includes books on Brücke, Cézanne, De Lempicka, Degas, Dürer, Abstract Art, Abstract Expressionism, Egyptian Art and much more. An essential element to any library, the Basic Art Series are the quintessential TASCHEN art books.
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Let’s get abstract. Making sense of revolutionary new forms.
The 20th century saw art go abstract. Where once clear certainties and indisputable forms prevailed, now anarchy seemed to reign supreme. Sensibilities diffused into strange new shapes, colors assumed new significance, lines abandoned literal meaning. Dive in and discover some of the most dynamic and progressive art of modernity.
Abstraction shook Western art to its core. In the early part of the 20th century, it refuted the reign of clear, indisputable forms and confronted audiences instead with vivid visual poems devoid of conventional representational imagery and characterized by allegories of emotion and sensation. This radical artistic adventure established new artistic means, as much as narratives. Expression became characterized by shocking juxtapositions of color, light, and line. Artists abandoned the conventions of brush and easel and played with new materials and methods of artistic gesture: commercial paints and housepainter’s brushes, working on unstretched and unprimed canvases, moving the canvas to the floor, and applying paint with hands.
This essential introduction spans the international breadth, conceptual depth, and seismic impact of abstract art with a thorough survey not only of the big names such as Picasso, Klee, Kline, Rothko, and Pollock, but also lesser-known figures who made equally significant contributions, including Antoni Tàpies, K. O. Götz, Ad Reinhardt, and Sophie Taeuber-Arp.
The author: Dietmar Elger studied art history, history, and literature at the University of Hamburg. In 1984/85, he was secretary of Gerhard Richter’s studio and between 1989 and 2006 curator for painting and sculpture at the Sprengel Museum, Hanover. He has organized numerous exhibitions on modern and contemporary art and has directed the Gerhard Richter Archive at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden since 2006. For TASCHEN he has authored the volumes Expressionism, Dadaism, and Abstract Art.
Abstract Art, Dietmar Elger / Hardcover, 21 x 26 cm, 96 pages
Mood marks. The painterly gestures of personal feelings.
From vast, splattered canvases to quiet pools of color, enter the world of Abstract Expressionism, the movement which put feelings into paint and turned New York into the global center for contemporary art. This book features works from 20 key artists, including Jackson Pollock, Philip Guston, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning.
Hailed as the first American-born art movement to have a worldwide influence, Abstract Expressionism denotes the non-representational use of paint as a means of personal expression. It emerged in America in the 1940s, with lead protagonists including Jackson Pollock, Philip Guston, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning.
Abstract Expressionism spawned many different stylistic tendencies but two particularly prominent sub-categories: action painting, exemplified by de Kooning and Pollock, and color field painting, made most famous by Rothko. Throughout, Abstract Expressionists strove to convey emotions and ideas through the making of marks, through forms, textures, shades, and the particular quality of brushstrokes. The movement favored large-scale canvases, and embraced the role of accident or chance. With featured works from 20 key Abstract Expressionist artists, this book introduces the movement which shifted the center of art gravity from Paris to New York and remains for many the golden moment of American art.
The author: Barbara Hess (b. 1964) is an art historian, critic, and translator and resides in Cologne. Her numerous articles on contemporary art have been featured in Camera Austria, Flash Art, Kunst-Bulletin, and Texte zur Kunst. She co-curated the touring exhibition Ready to Shoot: Fernsehgalerie Gerry Schum/videogalerie schum at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Abstract Expressionism, Barbara Hess / Hardcover, 21 x 26 cm, 96 pages
Forms of feeling. The human body in distress.
A concise and gripping encounter with Francis Bacon, one of the most individual, powerful, and disturbing painters of the 20th century. Emerging into notoriety in the period following World War II, Bacon developed a unique figurative form, distorted, dismembered, and writhing with intense emotional content.
Largely self-taught as an artist, Francis Bacon (1909–1992) developed a unique ability to transform interior and unconscious impulses into figurative forms and intensely claustrophobic compositions.
Emerging into notoriety in the period following World War II, Bacon took the human body as his nominal subject, but a subject ravaged, distorted, and dismembered so as to writhe with intense emotional content. With flailing limbs, hollow voids, and tumurous growths, his gripping, often grotesque, portraits are as much reflections on the trials and the traumas of the human condition as they are character studies. These haunting forms were also among the first in art history to depict overtly homosexual themes.
The author: Luigi Ficacci studied art history in Rome under Giulio Carlo Argan. For many years, he was curator at the Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica in Rome and lectured at various Italian universities. From 2007 to 2015, he was Bologna’s general museum director (Soprintendente ai Beni Culturali); today he is general museum director in Lucca. The focal points of his research work are the issues raised by 17th and 18th century and contemporary Italian and European art.
Bacon, Luigi Ficacci / Hardcover, 21 x 26 cm, 96 pages
Designs of the time. The most famous art school of modernity.
Despite being shut down by the Nazis after just fourteen years in existence, the Bauhaus art school stands as one of the defining movements of modern history. This book introduces the school’s commitment to creative expression, cutting-edge ideas, and the combination of fine art and technology in a utopian future.
In a fleeting fourteen year period, sandwiched between two world wars, Germany’s Bauhaus school of art and design changed the face of modernity. With utopian ideals for the future, the school developed a pioneering fusion of fine art, craftsmanship, and technology to be applied across painting, sculpture, design, architecture, film, photography, textiles, ceramics, theatre, and installation.
As much an intense personal community as a publicly minded collective, the Bauhaus was first founded by Walter Gropius (1883–1969), and counted Josef and Anni Albers, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer, Gunta Stölzl, Marianne Brandt and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe among its members. Between its three successive locations in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin, the school fostered charismatic and creative exchange between teachers and students, all varied in their artistic styles and preferences, but united in their idealism and their interest in a “total” work of art across different practices and media. This book celebrates the adventurous innovation of the Bauhaus movement, both as a trailblazer in the development of modernism, and as a paradigm of art education, where an all-encompassing freedom of creative expression and cutting-edge ideas led to functional and beautiful creations.
The author: Magdalena Droste studied art history and literature in Aachen and Marburg. From 1980 she worked at the Bauhaus-Archiv in Berlin, after which she worked as a professor of art history at the BTU Cottbus. She has been responsible for numerous exhibitions and publications across all Bauhaus themes and artists. The editor: Peter Gössel runs an agency for museum and exhibition design. He has published TASCHEN monographs on Julius Shulman, R. M. Schindler, John Lautner, and Richard Neutra, as well as several titles in the Basic Architecture series.
Bauhaus, Magdalena Droste, Peter Gössel / Hardcover, 21 x 26 cm, 96 pages
Riders on the storm. The charge of 20th-century expressionism.
Join the heady ride of Der Blaue Reiter, the group of artists who galloped just three years of the early 20th century together, but in their rejection of establishment standards and charge into a new artistic realm marked a major step in the evolution of European Expressionist and abstract art.
Although it only lasted three turbulent years, the afterburn of the Blaue Reiter (1911–1914) movement exerted a tremendous influence on the development of modern European art. Named after a Kandinsky painting, The Blue Rider, this loose band of artists, grouped around Russian émigré Wassily Kandinsky and German painter Franz Marc, sought to reject establishment standards and charge into a new artistic unknown. Articulating spiritual values and concerns in an era of rapid industrialization, the artists of the Blaue Reiter were connected by a shared interest in painting, woodcuts, and prints, as well as the symbolic values of color and spontaneous approaches to artwork. Key pieces such as Franz Marc’s Blue Horse I (1911), Kandinsky’s Picture with a Black Arch (1912), and August Macke’s Woman in a Green Jacket (1913) reveal varying subjects, but all channel distorted perspectives, crude lines, and an emphatic, expressionist use of color.
The Blaue Reiter was abruptly truncated by the onset of the First World War, which killed two of its leading artists, along with growing dissent between the group’s protagonists. This book reveals the movement’s remarkable influence despite its brevity, presenting key works, artists, and their reverberating effects.
The author: Hajo Düchting studied art history, philosophy, and archaeology in Munich, where he gained his doctorate in 1981 with a thesis on Robert Delaunay’s Windows series. After working in museum and adult education, he moved on to teaching posts and guest professorships at the universities of Munich, Kassel, Leipzig, Saarbrücken, and Mainz. Düchting has published numerous articles on the art of the modern era, color theory, and the teaching of art, and has authored a number of TASCHEN titles, including Paul Cézanne, Wassily Kandinsky, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, and Georges Seurat.
The Blaue Reiter, Hajo Düchting / Hardcover, 21 x 26 cm, 96 pages
Bridging the gap. The onset of expressionism.
Vivid colors, woodcut flatness, crude figures, and unsettling sexual scenes: This essential introduction to 20th-century artist group Die Brücke reveals a revolutionary movement which sliced up images with ragged lines and decimated the mores of the age.
In the German city of Dresden on June 7, 1905, the foundation of the Die Brücke artists’ group (1905–1913) is widely regarded as the birth of Expressionism. Led by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Fritz Bleyl, Erich Heckel, and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, the group sought to reject the limits of academia and, as their name suggested, to bridge the path to an artistic future. Their manifesto, printed with woodblock, insisted on absolute freedom from convention in their work as well as their lives.
This new, liberated art incorporated portraits, landscapes, and city scenes, but substituted an objective rendering of reality with an expression of interior geography. In paintings, as well as their favored wood and linocut prints, the artists of Die Brücke would fill pictorial space with jagged lines, crude forms, and clashing colors, all to express their subjective experience of the world. Like the Fauves, the artists took stylistic lead from non-Western traditions of Oceanic and African arts, while also reviving the print and painting techniques of Albrecht Dürer and Lucas Cranach the Elder. This richly illustrated book introduces this essential expressionist movement. We examine Die Brücke’s key works and protagonists; its varied, international inspirations; and its crucial influence on later 20th century art. Along the way, we find candid nudes, crowded street views, and blissful bathing idylls, each of them vivid with energy and intent on a new kind of art.
The author: Ulrike Lorenz is Director of the Kunsthalle Mannheim and former director of Art Forum East German Gallery in Regensburg. She studied art history and archeology at the University of Leipzig and received her doctorate from the Bauhaus-University in Weimar.
Brücke, Ulrike Lorenz / Hardcover, 21 x 26 cm, 96 pages
Art Books: The Color Teil: Life, Work, and Inspiration, Landscapes in Oil, Acrylic Painting Mediums and Methods, The Short Story of Modern Art, The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting, The Story of Art, Art of Feminism, Life with Picasso, Impressionism, The Collins Big Book of Art: From Cave Art to Pop Art, Monet, Art Fundamentals › Read More
Paintwork pioneer. The anchorman of modernism.
Through apples, pears, and experimental new perspectives, explore the defining oeuvre of Paul Cézanne, the artist identified by both Matisse and Picasso as “father of us all.” From still life compositions to scenes of his beloved Montagne Sainte-Victoire, this book traces the artist’s bold new approaches to form light, space, and form.
In the latter half of the 19th century, in the verdant countryside near Aix-en-Provence, Paul Cézanne (1839–1906), busily plied his brush to landscapes and still lifes that would become anchors of modern art. With compact, intense dabs of paint and bold new approaches to light and space, he mediated the way from Impressionism to the defining movements of the early 20th century and became, in the words of both Matisse and Picasso, “father of us all.”
This fresh artist introduction selects key works from Cézanne’s oeuvre to understand his development, innovation, and crucial influence on modern art. From compositions of fruits and pears to scenes of outdoor bathers, we trace his experimentation with color, perspective, and texture to evoke “a harmony parallel to Nature,” as well as the very process of seeing and recording. Along the way, we discover Cézanne’s celebrated Card Players, his layering of warm and cool hues to build up form and surface, and the geometric rigor of his landscapes from the vicinity of Aix-en-Provence, as bright with the light of southern France as they are bold with a radical new rendering of dimensions and depth.
The author: Ulrike Becks-Malorny studied painting in Geneva and art history in Bochum, Germany. Since gaining her doctorate in 1990, she has worked as an exhibition organizer and freelance author. She lives in Bonn, Germany.
Cézanne, Ulrike Becks-Malorny / Hardcover, 21 x 26 cm, 96 pages
Understated excellence. The architect of the extraordinary ordinary.
Ideas, integrity, and pure spatial experience combine in the works of David Chipperfield, one of the most understated architectural maestros of our time. From Berlin to Beirut, traverse Chipperfield’s most striking projects to discover how his drive to reject “starchitecture” and instead expose the remarkable concealed in “ordinariness” has put him on the global stage.
From Berlin to Beirut, David Chipperfield (born 1953) aspires to an architecture founded on collaboration, ideas, and excellence. His buildings are intended as physically immediate spaces in which “a sort of ordinariness” becomes remarkable, and by which the individual structure coexists with broader concepts of city-building.
Chipperfield’s vision has driven major projects around the globe, from the famed rebuilding of the Neues Museum in Berlin, Germany, to the Amorepacific Headquarters in Seoul. His architectural practice has won many international competitions and numerous awards and citations for design excellence. In vivid images and accessible texts, this book covers Chipperfield’s most striking projects to introduce the architect suspicious of “starchitecture,” but nevertheless a global star on the architecture stage.
The author: Philip Jodidio studied art history and economics at Harvard, and edited Connaissance des Arts for over 20 years. His TASCHEN books include the Architecture Now! series and monographs on Tadao Ando, Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel, Shigeru Ban, Oscar Niemeyer, and Zaha Hadid.
Chipperfield, Philip Jodidio / Hardcover, 21 x 26 cm, 96 pages
Freewheeling. Tamara de Lempicka, icon of Art Deco.
Live art in the fast lane with this essential introduction to Tamara de Lempicka, the Russian emigré who moved to Paris, took up painting, and left one of the most vivid visual documents of the Roaring Twenties. From her iconic Self-Portrait in the Green Bugatti to portraits of high-society patrons, this book traces the artist’s unique visual language and its privileged place in the annals of interwar art.
Tamara de Lempicka (1898–1980) lived art in the fast lane. With an appetite for glamour and fame as much as Left Bank bohemianism, she fled her native Russia after the Bolshevik revolution and set about taking Paris by storm. Her prolific, monumental oeuvre remains one of the most vivid visual documents of 1920s Art Deco.
De Lempicka’s style deployed cool colors and tight post-cubist forms into an at once neoclassical and voluptuous figuration. Her subjects are often nude and always sensual, aloof, and powerful. Bedecked in seductive light and textures, they command our attention but typically avert their gaze with an aspect of haughty grandeur. They include both high-society patrons and progressive portraits of emancipated and lesbian women, such as Women Bathing and Portrait of Suzy Solidor. De Lempicka’s notorious Self-Portrait in the Green Bugatti, meanwhile, was commissioned for the cover of German magazine Die Dame and became an icon of speed, sophistication, and female independence. Through some of de Lempicka’s finest, most compelling portraits, this introduction explores the artist’s unique visual language and its privileged place not only in the annals of interwar art but also in the history of female artists and our collective consciousness of the Roaring Twenties.
The author: Gilles Néret (1933–2005) was an art historian, journalist, writer, and museum correspondent. He organized several art retrospectives in Japan and founded the SEIBU Museum and the Wildenstein Gallery in Tokyo. He directed art reviews such as L’Œil and Connaissance des Arts and received the Élie Faure Prize in 1981 for his publications. His TASCHEN titles include Salvador Dalí: The Paintings, Matisse, and Erotica Universalis.
De Lempicka, Gilles Néret / Hardcover, 21 x 26 cm, 96 pages
Dance class. The master of bodies in motion.
Discover the oeuvre of French painter and sculptor Edgar Degas, whose obsession with movement saw him create over 1,500 images of ballerinas. From still lifes to cabarets, horse racing to noisy streets, Degas left no corner of the bustling Parisian entertainments untouched. Resisting categorization, his exploration of physicality inspired, reflected, and ultimately transcended the Impressionist movement.
Most commonly associated with the birth of the Impressionist movement in mid-19th-century Paris, Edgar Degas (1834–1917) in fact defied easy categorization and instead developed a unique style, strongly influenced by Old Masters, the body in motion, and everyday urban life.
The elder scion of a wealthy family, Degas cofounded a series of exhibitions of “Impressionist” art, but soon disassociated himself from the group in pursuit of a more realist approach. His subjects centered on the teeming, noisy streets of Paris, as well as its leisure entertainments, such as horse racing, cabarets, and, most particularly, ballet. With often ambitious, off-kilter vantage points, his images of ballerinas numbered approximately 1,500 works, all deeply invested in the physicality and the discipline of dance. Through illustrations of Foyer de la Danse (1872), Musicians in the Orchestra (1872), and many more, this book provides an essential overview of the artist who created a category all his own, a world of classical resonance, bold compositions, and an endless fascination with movement, which together produced some of the most striking and influential works of the era.
The author: Bernd Growe (1950–1992) was a leading German art historian, who worked at the Justus-Liebig-Universität in Gießen from 1979 to 1990.
Degas, Bernd Growe / Hardcover, 21 x 26 cm, 96 pages
Prints of darkness. The art, theory, and woodcut print revolution of Albrecht Dürer.
All you need to know about Albrecht Dürer, the German Renaissance polymath whose masterful compositions—including Melancholia I and Knight, Death and the Devil—revolutionized woodcut illustration, engraving, and printmaking and left an indelible mark on European art.
A polymath of the German Renaissance, Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) was a prolific artist, theorist, and writer whose works explored everything from religion to art theory to philosophy. His vast body of work includes altarpieces, portraits, self-portraits, watercolors, and books, but is most celebrated for its astonishing collection of woodcut prints, which transformed printmaking from an artisan practice into a whole new art form.
Dürer’s woodcuts astonish in scale as much as detail. Through works such as Apocalypse and the Triumphal Arch for Emperor Maximilian I, he created dense, meticulous compositions that were much larger, much more finely cut, and far more complex than any earlier woodcut efforts. With an ambitious tonal and dynamic range, he introduced a new level of conceptual, emotional, and spiritual intensity. His two major woodcut series on Christ’s Passion, named The Large Passion and The Small Passion after their size, are particularly remarkable for their vivid human treatment of the Christian narrative. In his copper engraving, Melancholia I, meanwhile, Dürer created a startling vision of emotional ennui, often cited as a defining early image of a depressive or melancholic state. Ever inquisitive, Dürer absorbed ideas not only from masters and fellow artists in Germany but also from Italy, while his own influence extended across Europe for generations to come. In this essential TASCHEN introduction, we explore this pioneering figure’s complex practice, his omnivorous intellect, and the key works which shaped his enduring legacy.
The author: Norbert Wolf graduated in art history, linguistics, and medieval studies at the Universities of Regensburg and Munich, and earned his PhD in 1983. He held visiting professorships in Marburg, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Düsseldorf, Nuremberg-Erlangen, and Innsbruck. His extensive writings on art history include many TASCHEN titles, such as Diego Velázquez, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Caspar David Friedrich, Expressionism, Romanesque, Landscape Painting, and Symbolism.
Dürer, Norbert Wolf / Hardcover, 21 x 26 cm, 96 pages
From the land of the Pharaohs. The finest treasures of ancient Egypt.
Discover some of the most stunning masterpieces of ancient Egypt. This catalogue gathers sarcophagi, statues, murals, and other timeless treasures by unknown masters from the Old Kingdom to the Roman Period. Find out why these centuries-old gems of World Cultural Heritage are displayed alongside masterworks of Michelangelo and da Vinci, from New York to Cairo.
The art of ancient Egypt that has been handed down to us bears no names of its creators, and yet we value the creations of these unknown masters no less than the works of later centuries, such as statues by Michelangelo or the paintings by Leonardo da Vinci. This book introduces some of the most important masterpieces, ranging from the Old Kingdom during the Third millennium BC to the Roman Period.
The works encompass sculptures, reliefs, sarcophagi, murals, masks, and decorative items, most of them now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, but some occupying places of honor as part of the World Cultural Heritage in museums such as the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London, the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
Featured works include: Seated statue of King Djoser / Wood relief of Hesire on a dining table / Statue of a scribe made of various materials / Funerary relief of Aschait / Sphinx of Sesostris III / Robed statue of Cherihotep / Reliefs from the Temple at Carnac / Sarcophagus of Queen Hatshepsut / Murals from Thebes / Seated figure of the goddess Sachmet / Statue of Queen Teje / Head of Akhenaten (Amenophis IV) / Queen Nefertiti / Golden mask of Tutankhamun / Ramses II from Abu Simbel / Horus falcon made of granite / Stone relief from the temple ambulatory at Edfu
The author: Rose-Marie Hagen was born in Switzerland and studied history, Romance languages, and literature in Lausanne. After further studies in Paris and Florence, she lectured at the American University in Washington, D.C. Rainer Hagen was born in Hamburg and graduated in literature and theater studies in Munich. He later worked for radio and TV, most recently as chief editor of a German public broadcasting service. Together they have collaborated on several TASCHEN titles, including Masterpieces in Detail, Pieter Bruegel, and Francisco de Goya.
Egyptian Art, Rose-Marie & Rainer Hagen / Hardcover, 21 x 26 cm, 96 pages