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Marquand Books: A Publisher With Bragging Rights

abstract: If you attended any fine art gallery shows this past year, chances are that the art book created for one of the collections was designed by Ed Marquand's team in Seattle, Washington. The New York Times this past December featured four Marquand titles in their "Ten Best Art Books of 2007" one of a series of "Bests" that the world waits to peruse before shopping for the bibliophiles on their holiday list. Marquand Books, one of the most respected companies of its kind in the United States, produces fine illustrated books for museums, galleries, publishers, artists, collectors, and architects.


January 06, 2008
— As it turns out, there's more than meets the eye to this talented man. He is also also developing a book arts studio in a small virtually abandoned town in central Washington called Tieton to make limited run, high end handmade art books for artists, collectors, museums, and the like. Care to join the newly forming art colony?


Seattle, with a metropolitan population of 3.5 million, is known as the Emerald City due to the lush coastal evergreen forests. It is located ninety-five miles south of the Canada-US border in the Pacific Northwest on beautiful Puget Sound and Lake Washington with spectacular views of Mount Baker on a clear day. It is the home of Microsoft, Starbucks and Seattle's Best coffees, so needless to say, ordering a cuppa java on any corner is a daunting task. I lined up to get a regular coffee and had to wait fifteen minutes while laptop-toting young execs successively spieled off paragraph descriptions for their coffee orders, "I'll have a double-shot, skinny, extra-hot, mocha cappuccino with a shot of vanilla and hold the extra foam."

Meeting Ed is a less daunting experience. His business is located on Third Street, just up from the Pike Place Market and a few blocks down from the Seattle Central Library. Founded in 1983, the firm has developed a reputation for award-winning, innovative art books and museum publications. His office has three floor-to-ceiling stacks packed with delicious art books that a librarian archive student is presently cataloguing, using, she tells me, a cool new software tool for such purposes. On Ed's desk and credenza are interesting art pieces bathed by light from windows that look out on the city. The remaining office extends to individual staff work stations. Large eye-catching canvas paintings gifted by artist clients along the corridor attest to years of collaboration and friendship.

If you ask how he has made a success of such a narrow niche market, Ed will tell you it is by "developing strong relationships with the major art publishers and helping museums produce books that stand out in the crowded marketplace of illustrated books. We place our clients’ titles with such leading publishers as D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Harry N. Abrams, Hudson Hills, Princeton Architectural Press, Smithsonian Press, University of California Press, University of Oklahoma Press, University of Washington Press, and Yale University Press."

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What were those prize-winners?

  • The Gates of Paradise: Lorenzo Ghiberti's Renaissance Masterpiece (High Museum of Art Series) copublished Yale University Press

  • Martín Ramírez by Brooke Davis Anderson
    American Folk Art Museum, copublished by Marquand Books

  • Rembrandt's Nose: Of Flesh and Spirit in the Master's Portraits by Michael Taylor.
    D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers
  • Although Marquand Books managed the design, production, prepress and print supervision for these projects, each book benefited from the talents and trust of inspired clients. Ed thanks Heather Campbell Coyle at the Delaware Art Museum; Tanya Heinrich, Mareike Grover, and Brooke Davis Anderson at the American Folk Art Museum; Kelly Morris at the High Museum of Art; and Sharon Helgason Gallagher at D.A.P.

    The "Mighty Tieton" Colony

    Ed Marquand first rode into Tieton in April 2005 while exploring the Yakima area on his bike. Behind what is now Tieton Lofts, he ran into a patch of goat head thorns that flattened his tires. He spent the afternoon in Tieton Park in the center of town repairing them. The town sparked his imagination.

    The boarded-up storefronts and near-abandoned town in central Washington would make a good location for a second studio and an artist colony. Recently interviewed by KUOW—listen to Ed Marquand talk about the "Mighty Tieton" development.

    Of his new book-arts studio, MARQUAND PRESS | TIETON, Marquand says, "Even the most bookish among us now rely on electronic forms of information retrieval for fun and serious research. This makes the tactile pleasures of holding and reading a book of extraordinary quality a particular delight."

    "[We've made] Tieton, Washington, home to a developing community of artisan businesses. Marquand Press | Tieton produces books that combine state-of-the-art digital and offset image reproduction with fine letterpress printing and hand bookbinding. Produced in low quantities to very high standards, these volumes push the boundaries of traditional book arts into creative expressions for museums, collectors, artists, architects, and designers."

    "The first two books of 2007 from Marquand Press commemorate the expansion of the Seattle Art Museum and the creation of SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park. Upcoming titles include two books for the Drachen Foundation, a series of design manifestos, and a monograph on a contemporary artist." Look for updates on both the town and the publisher's websites.

    Next Month we will chat with Jorge Pinto, of Pinto Books in New York.



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