Philip Taaffe was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1955, and studied at the Cooper Union in New York. His first solo exhibition was in New York in 1982. Taaffe has traveled widely in the Middle East, India, South America, and Morocco. He has also lived and worked in Naples from 1988-91. He has been included in numerous museum exhibitions, including the Carnegie International, two Sydney Biennials, and three Whitney Biennials. Taaffe’s work is in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid.
In 2000, the Institut Valencià d'Art Modern organized a retrospective of Taaffe’s work, and in 2004, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in San Marino, Italy presented Carte annuvolate (Cloud Papers), a survey of paintings and drawings based on the artist’s explorations with floating pigments and the paper marbling process. In 2008, the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg organized a major retrospective of Taaffe’s work entitled The Life of Forms in Art: Paintings 1980-2008, which was accompanied by a publication by Hatje Cantz. In 2011, the Irish Museum of Modern Art presented Anima Mundi, a survey of thirty paintings from the decade 2000-2010. Some of Taaffe’s most recent solo exhibitions have been at Luhring Augustine in 2013 (Chelsea) and 2015 (Bushwick). In 2018, Lund Humphries published a monograph on Taaffe that examines his entire career over the past four decades. Philip Taaffe presently works and lives in West Cornwall, Connecticut.