This year Tate Publishing is proud to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of publishing at Tate. To mark the centenary, Tate Britain is hosting a display of Tate books produced between 1911 and 2011. From the very first publication right through to some of Tate Publishing’s most recent, award-winning titles the display, though selective, showcases the quality and breadth of Tate Publishing’s list as well as the creativity of artists, designers and illustrators past and present who have been involved in their creation.
In 1911 the then National Gallery of British Art at Millbank, known more commonly as the Tate Gallery, published two catalogues to accompany its first loan exhibitions, one of work by Alfred Stevens, the other of Pre-Raphaelite works from Birmingham. One hundred very active years later, Tate Publishing, now an award-winning publisher wholly owned by the trustees of Tate, is one of the pre-eminent international publishers on art and provides significant financial support for the ongoing work of Tate.
Sharing Tate’s ambition to increase public knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of art, Tate Publishing has become synonymous with bold new scholarship on the visual arts, high quality reproductions of art works, critically acclaimed writing on artists, movements and theories, and, more recently, innovative and creative illustrated books for children. These books allow Tate to make art accessible to increasingly diverse audiences.
‘It’s an honour and a privilege to be able to develop a publishing programme that has such a rich and diverse history as that of Tate Publishing,’ says Roger Thorp, Publishing Director at Tate Publishing.
It’s an exciting time for the list right now: we see ever increasing commercial success with major catalogues such as Gerhard Richter, Watercolour and Joan Miró and the popularity of our burgeoning children’s list, while recognising that a key element of our success lies in a dedicated team of publishing professionals who recognise the importance of quality and innovation in book publishing, whether it be in terms of design, scholarship or production skills. A hundred years on, Tate Publishing is now overseeing a move not only into digital publishing, but also into key areas of interest for those who care about the art and culture of whatever age. A publishing programme that can embrace Foucault’s reflections on Manet alongside Dick Bruna’sMiffy the Artist is a healthy breath of fresh air amid the gloomy fog of current trade predictions.
Highlights from the 100 Years of Tate Books display include an early exhibition catalogue of works by William Blake from 1913 which is the first of a considerable number of books Tate have published on Blake’s art, as befits a world centre of Blake scholarship. The display demonstrates a variety of approaches to book design and production, from early text-only catalogues printed by His Majesty’s Stationery Office through to Tate’s 1960 Picasso exhibition catalogue. Designed by British artist and typographic designer Gordon House, Picasso remains striking today for its simple graphic layouts and its bold cover. House commissioned Picasso to design the book’s cover as a reflection of the artist’s close involvement in all aspects of the exhibition.
By the end of 2011 Tate Publishing will have published over 1100 different titles. This doesn’t take into account the hundreds of foreign editions and translations of Tate books produced for other publishers and museum partners around the world. With thanks to the continuous support of Tate visitors and audiences from around the world, Tate Publishing are delighted to present another strong list of titles in their centenary year, publishing books across the full spectrum of art and visual culture.