What is an Art Publisher?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 08 February 2020
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An art publisher is a publisher which specializes in art. The German firm Taschen is a notable example of an art publisher. Art publishers produce books, prints, and posters which feature fine arts as well as crafts, and many include topics like architecture, art history, and other topics related to the arts. They have a number of unique skills which make them especially suited to the publication of art-related materials.

Art publishers specialize in taking works of art and successfully translating them to a format which will work for publication. For something like photography, this can be as simple as creating plates which will accurately convey the level of detail, color, and depth in a photograph. For works of art like architecture, paintings, and sculptures, the art publisher must be able to replicate the work as best as possible, with a high level of accuracy and color matching. As anyone who has seen an indifferent print of a painting knows, it can be very challenging to translate a distinctive work of art into a format which can be viewed by many people.


Art publishers also curate, with a number of departments which handle topics like modern art, sculpture, and so forth. The staff members at an art publisher have an excellent eye for art, working with new artists as well as existing ones and archives of work from artists who are long-deceased. The staff need to be able to select the works which will captivate the market, and to arrange those works successfully in books and collections of prints. Staff at an art publisher usually have a very good aesthetic sense as well as good business acumen, and they participate in every level of publication from selecting an artist to laying out the book which features his or her work.

An art publisher can work with a museum to publish catalogs, prints for sale in the museum store, and fine art books to accompany exhibitions. They also work with galleries and individual artists to produce books and posters for sale, along with educational institutions which include art departments. Art publishers are also the first resource for people with manuscripts which involve art history or topics in the arts, as the publisher's experience can be critical for generating sales and ensuring that the illustrations in the book are of high quality.

Someone can approach a career with an art publisher from a number of perspectives. Art publishers hire artists, art historians, and designers as well as people from the more general book trade such as editors, printers, and marketing staffers. People who are interested in sharing art with many people may enjoy employment with an art publisher.



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