Phaidon Readies to Celebrate 100 Years of Artistic Bookmaking With Christie’s

In honor of Phaidon’s centennial, the art-centric publisher is teaming with Christie’s to unveil “100 Years of Creativity: A Century of Bookmaking at Phaidon,” an exhibition at the auction house’s Rockefeller Center outpost in Manhattan.

Running from Sept. 5 to 18, the assortment will highlight more than 150 titles from the 1920s until now. Slated to coincide with Christie’s Asian Art Week, the exhibition will later move on to the auction house’s London location some time this year.

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Although the occasion marks 100 years, the festivities will have a more au courant spin. Marquee creators (and Phaidon authors) Thom Browne, Peter Marino, Linda Evangelista, Madison Cox and Rashid Johnson will be on hand for a Sept. 6 celebration at Christie’s in New York.

Phaidon and Christie’s have teamed before for the latter’s own anniversary book “Going Once: 250 Years of Culture, Taste and Collecting at Christie’s.” They also worked together on “Yves Saint Laurent: Accessories” and “Theodore Deck: The Peter Marino Collection.”

It was a century ago in Vienna that Dr. Béla Horovitz, Frederick “Fritz” Ungar and Ludwig Goldscheider started Phaidon, which was named for Phaedo of Elis, a pupil of Socrates. The trio’s aim was to create elegant but affordable art books — a new genre at that time. A century later, Phaidon still excels in the creative arts publishing field. The company has sold 50 million books in 40 languages and it has 1,500 titles in print.

None of the books in the exhibition will be sold via Christie’s. However, there will be an area where visitors and patrons can leaf through the pages. Interior designer Nina Magon, whose book “Evoke” will be published by Monacelli in October, is designing a Reading Room in the Rockefeller Center auction house that is inspired by her book. There, an assortment of Phaidon and Monacelli titles will be on display. Limited-edition artworks from Phaidon and Artspace will also be on view, including editions by Yoshitomo Nara, Catherine Opie, Rashid Johnson, Jennifer Guidi and Harland Miller, among others.

The featured selection will reflect key points in publishing history, design award winners, rare and out-of-print titles, and books that helped shape culture and bookmaking. A first edition of E.H. Gombrich’s “The Story of Art” from 1950, which has sold more than 8 million copies in 40 languages, will be paired with the more contemporary “Great (Women) Artists.” Drawing from Phaidon’s archives, there will be 1930s surveys and monographs on the Italian Renaissance, Velazquez and Michelangelo.

Phaidon, which has not had to face any of its books being banned in the current U.S. environment, will spotlight titles by Rihanna, Annie Leibovitz, Mickalene Thomas, Grace Coddington and Massimo Bottura and the artist known as JR. There will also be books focused on Nike and Supreme. Visitors will find a sampling from Phaidon’s Contemporary Artist Series, including early editions centered on Alex Katz, Nancy Spero and Yayoi Kusama. There will be forthcoming publications from the aforementioned Johnson, as well as KAWS and Dana Schutz.

To mark its anniversary, Phaidon will publish “100 Years of Creativity” featuring 100 living artists, writers, designers, architects, illustrators and chefs with publishing ties to Phaidon including Stephen Shore, Catherine Opie, Ferran Adrià, Lorna Simpson, Sarah Sze, Dieter Rams and Bruce Mau. However, this limited run of 1,000 copies will only be available as a gift from the publisher or via select anniversary partners.

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