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Hirmer Publishing – art books that set new standards.

Successful publishers of art books are often avid readers and writers themselves. They tend to deeply understand not merely the point of publishing and promoting work but what a book means to a reader, how to exceed a reader’s expectations, and how recipients buy books.

Conversely, crucial to an artist’s positive publishing experience is an editor who can truly catch the vision for the respective book; someone who seems to appreciate the nuances of unique styles and wants to convey it vividly.

Ever since Hirmer Publishing was concepted by Professor Dr. Max Hirmer in 1948, its vision has been firmly set on maintaining the highest quality when it comes to bringing its eclectically curated releases on a wide range of subjects spanning from painting, photography, architecture, design, sculpture, drawings to fashion, the history of culture, a dedicated series of academic publications as well as its extensive catalogues raisonnés.

Having established itself as a reliable partner for museums, universities and art galleries, based on decade-long relationships and trust, one of Hirmer’s foci over the last decades was geared towards the in-house production of exhibition catalogues and contemporary art without ever running danger of neglecting realms like archaeology and the decorative arts, where it initially started in. Needless to say, Hirmer’s collector’s editions rank high on art aficionados agendas and want lists as are its strictly limited editions of signed and numbered original works.

While claiming that the ever evolving portfolio of Hirmer Publishing’s catalogue would be an understatement par excellence, we do have favourites and recommendations as the respective titles highlight nuances and subtleties on the oeuvre of some of our favourite artists that many other elaborations lack.

Case in point: Nitsch – Spaces of Colour.

Having recently spent a stint in Vienna, where we delved into Hermann Nitsch’s action painting, which was centred with the substance of the paint, Hirmer’s book illustrates the development of his painterly works from the early 1960s to the present day, with the focal point on the exploration of the varying state of the paint between liquid and solid.

If you are remotely follow our art related emissions, it should not come as a surprise that we never cease to be inspired by the lavishly illustrated and highly explosive cosmos that John Heartfield’s collages created.

Hirmer’s John Heartfield - Photography plus Dynamite pays homage to one of the most innovative graphic artists not merely of the Weimar Republic but due to the potency and immediacy of his works, of all times – especially currently in the era vulgaris of fake news.

What we love about Hirmer’s book on Heartfield is that based on original artworks from his personal estate, it not merely shows his working materials but also sheds light on his extracurricular activities pertaining to theatre work and trick films.

While we are still hoping for Hirmer to dedicate their efforts to a book on Anselm Kiefer, the lavishly illustrated tome that is Gerhard Richter – About Painting covers the illusory art of another exceptional Teutonic personality that has carved his own niche as far as his idiosyncratic ambivalent approach to painting is concerned, which meanders between abstraction and representation, sensuousness and denial, thereby not merely replicating reality but despite raising questions.


Words by AW.

Photos courtesy of Hirmer Verlag.


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