Thursday, February 18, 2010

Librairie Galignani, Paris

Librairie Galignani, located at 224, rue de Rivoli, facing the Tuileries Gardens in Paris' First Arrondissement, is the oldest English-language bookseller outside the English-speaking world and was founded in 1801 by the Venetian Giovanni Galignani, an advenurous member of an illustrious publishing family whose first work was printed in 1520.

Today, Galignani is the foremost Parisian bookseller of works on art and art history, architecture, design, fashion, politics and English literature, and maintains a beautiful bookstore fitted out with tall mahogany bookcases, herringbone oak floors, and wheeled ladders fixed on a brass rail to reach the highest shelves, all bathed in natural light beneath a large, old skylight. An important part of Paris' cultural life, Galignani regularly hosts lectures and receptions for authors of newly published works.

For several years, Galignani has been featuring our architectural notecards in exclusivity, having refused the entreaties of all other producers. The new director, Madame Danielle Cillien Sabatier, commissioned this watercolor of the bookstore's facade with the intention to reproduce it as a folding card, to be used for invitations to special events and offered for sale in the store as well. It will also be reproduced as the store's bookmark, which is offered with every book purchased, and of which over 100,000 copies are distributed each year.

The watercolor depicts a portion of the famous arcades bordering the Tuileries, drawn in elevation, and is combined with a detailed one-point perspective of the bookstore's display windows and the interiors behind, the central doors left open to catch a glimpse of the annex at the far end of the store.