The Diane de Selliers publishing house: When art meets literature


Founder of a unique publishing house, Diane de Selliers has made her passion for books her profession, in which she flourishes day after day. Inhabited by the magic of words, his books are true and precious works of art. Enter the fantastic world of the discreet publishing house Diane de Selliers.

It was during a trip to the Belgian capital, where she was promoting a book about the Italian city of Florence in the 1990sthis Diane de Selliers‘ the desire to devote himself to publishing was born. After falling under the spell of an illustrated edition of at La Fontaine Fables found in a bookstore near the Grand-Place in Brussels, she decides to publish the same historical work in a more contemporary version.

Such treasures only make sense if they are sharedshe said to herself when she came across the bookseller’s Fables. His modern reinterpretation of one of the most beautiful jewels of French literature was an immediate success.30,000 copies have been sold to date. Diane de Selliers knew at that very moment that this art book, which she had worked so hard to create, would be the first volume of a great collection.

© Editions Diane de Selliers

“The great texts of literature illustrated by the greatest painters”

It is the name of collection of books published by Diane de Selliers. Founded in 1992, this publishing house is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary this year with… its thirtieth art book! Because the company only publishes one book a yearon the occasion of the end-of-year celebrations, like real gifts that we look forward to every year…

This carefully considered choice takes on its full meaning when you take a closer look at the long, arduous but fascinating and sublime work behind each book. Diane de Selliers and the specialists who accompany her travel to the most remote countries, peoples and places of the world to unearth the most beautiful, rarest and most unique illustrations. that will bring the text to life and give it the strength and vigor it deserves.

The level of commitment and work involved in each book is such that we need time, not only to do the necessary research, but to produce the most finished book possible.“, explains Diane de Selliers to Forbes. This painstaking work – which can take several years, as with the Tale of Genjithe founding novel of Japan, which took seven years to complete – adds to that of search for ancestral texts so that they are as complete as possible.

When every book is an art…

Ramayana, one of the key texts of Hindu civilization, written around 800 years before our era, is a perfect example. It tells the story of Prince Rama and advocates the universal values ​​of courage, loyalty and love. For this work to see the light of day, Diane de Selliers, armed with her perseverance, was able to convince the Maharajah of Jaipur to entrust him with the hidden royal manuscripts of Emperor Akbar dating from the 16th century, inaccessible for more than forty years.

Ramayana by Valmiki - Editions Diane de Selliers
© Editions Diane de Selliers

After bringing together these literary jewels, they could finally be revealed to the world a decade after the start of research, magnified by more than 600 unpublished miniatures.

Pahari School. The ascetic Bharadvaja welcomes Rama to his hermitage. One of the illustrations from the book. © Collection of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, Geneva

The discovery of the Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu is also a second very good example. The book, the first psychological novel in the world which makes us live the amorous and political adventures of Prince Genji the Radiantis decorated with original paintings, is adorned with original japanese paintings from screens, kakemonos, albums, or even calligraphic rolls dating from the Middle Ages (12th century), found by dint of surveying Japanese mountainside monasteries, among other places.

Drawing Prince Genji as Scholar, Anonymous. © Mary and Jackson Burke Foundation, New York / Photo by Carl Nadiello

The textswhether they are founders of humanity, spirituality, mythology, poetry, tales and novels, unknown or not, elegant and delicate dialogue with precious illustrations, all of great rarity. “Our books create links between literature and painting, the text and its illustration: the images offer a new look at a text, they make it possible to interpret it, to sublimate it» she confides, afterwards.

The story is then told through the greatest ancestral texts ever writtenthe richness of the illustrations but also by the scientific rigor and the long investigations which are necessary for each work.

The final result ? After thirty years of existence, it is a rich collection of – soon – thirty jewels of literature which stage and reveal the immense richness of the history of the world through words and tell the story of Art by bringing together the most beautiful works ever produced.

Buon Compleanno Diane de Selliers - Editions Diane de Selliers
© Editions Diane de Selliers

A publishing house anchored in the French cultural landscape

Perfectly integrated and welcomed in the French and international cultural world, this publishing house is recognized for its uniqueness, the quality of its works of art and its concern for high standards. With many books rewarded for their high degree of Excellencythe founder of the eponymous house has been rewarded many times for her work.

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Named “Editor of the Yearin 2013 by the Académie des Beaux-Arts Cercle Montherlant and the Cercle de la Closerie des Lilas, Diane de Selliers was elevated to the rank of Knight of the Legion of Honour in 2007 and was a Officer of Arts and Letters since five years.

Live almost entirely from donations individuals and patrons, the publishing house, which is also a member of the Colbert Committeeis today a singularly independent luxury house, rich in values ​​that are as enriching as they are exciting.

Celebrate Heritage Days 2019 at Éditions Diane de Selliers!  - Small io
The Diane de Selliers publishing house, located at 19 rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris.

The books, printed in 3,000 to 4,000 copies and sold between 200 € and 400 € each, turned out real marvels of luxury. But, for its creator, “the the real luxury behind these books is giving them time. The time and perseverance to achieve great works” .

As each work is the result of a long quest, Diane de Selliers defied the predictions and dared to leave the traditional “rails” to devote himself entirely to his passion. And it was obviously a successful bet. Inspiring, she made it currency an art of living for thirty years now:

Follow your ideas and your dreams to the end. All obstacles can be overcome or circumvented, passion and meaning open many doors

Read also > A LITTLE HISTORY OF LUXURY: FROM AUDREY HEPBURN TO JAY-Z AND BEYONCÉ, THE CRAZY SAGA OF TIFFANY & CO.

Feature photo: © Diane de Selliers

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