Past, present and future of a publishing house

Silvana Editoriale was founded in 1948 by Amilcare Pizzi, as a way of remembering his daughter Silvana, who died prematurely in 1944. Through his commitment and passion, Pizzi expanded its business by publishing books of enormous value.

Memorable titles included the “Silvana Files” (on Masaccio, Beato Angelico, Piero della Francesca, Michelangelo, Leonardo and Raphael), published to mark the First UNESCO Congress held in Beirut in 1949, and for the “UNESCO Collection of World Art” after it was set up in 1954. These were followed by “Myth of Colour”, “Monographs”, “Pochoir” and “Modern Art”, which included the first Italian three-volume edition of Vincent Van Gogh’s letters.

Monographs included a volume on Mantegna’s frescoes at the Ovetari Chapel, in the Church of the Eremitani in Padua, the only existing document executed by Amilcare Pizzi’s technicians in March 1944 a few days before the chapel was destroyed in a bomb raid; a book Mina Gregori edited on Giacomo Ceruti (1982); Carlo Bertelli’s monograph on Piero della Francesca (1991); and Gesta dipinte. La grande decorazione nelle dimore italiane dal Quattrocento al Seicento by Julian Kliemann (1993, winner of the second edition of the Amilcare Pizzi prize).

For decades, Silvana has been raising the profile of Italian design, at first in a series that kicked off with the volume I grandi disegni italiani dell’Albertina di Vienna (1972), edited by Walter Koschatzky, Konrad Oberhuber and Eckhart Knab, annual books published since 2005, the series Raffaello. Il Cartone per la Scuola di Atene (1972), edited by Konrad Oberhuber and Lamberto Vitali, and I disegni del Codice Resta (1979), edited by Giulio Bora.

Moving on to photography and contemporary art co-editions, it is worth mentioning: the photographic albums by William Klein Moscow and Tokyo (1964); the first monograph on Francis Bacon (1966); and the monographic volumes, including the first monograph on Francis Bacon (1966), the complete works of Marino Marini (1971, with 50 numbered luxury copies in a case with etching), and the Calder book, a collaboration between H. Harvard Arnason and Ugo Mulas (1971).

Exhibition catalogues have been edited by Franco Russoli on Picasso (1953) and by Charles Terrasse on Pierre Bonnard (1955). But among others it is also important to remember Pittori della realtà in Lombardia (1953) edited by Renata Cipriani and Giovanni Testori; Arte lombarda dai Visconti agli Sforza (1958) by Roberto Longhi; Mostra dell’arte e della civiltà etrusca (1955) by Massimo Pallottino; Influsso classico ed iranico sull’arte dell’Asia Centrale (1956) by Mario Bussagli, as well as the entire corpus of exhibition catalogues (11) to mark the five hundredth anniversary of Lorenzo de’ Medici’s death (1992).
In the field of contemporary art, Silvana has worked closely with the PAC Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea in Milan, including publication of catalogues for Luciano Fabro edited by Germano Celant (1980), on Lella and Massimo Vignelli (1980) and Lluís Domènech i Montaner (1980). Silvana published Origini dell’Astrattismo (1979), Alik Cavaliere. I luoghi circostanti (1992), edited by Guido Ballo, and Afro. Dipinti 1931-1975 (1992), edited by Luciano Caramel, for Palazzo Reale in Milan, but also on Aliventi, Arp and Viani for Forte di Belvedere in Florence (1992), edited by Enrico Crispolti.

In the field of graphics and design, the “Progetto Immagine” series (1976), distributed under the brand Amilcare Pizzi Editore, showcased four titles: Lo Studio Boggeri 1933-1973, Carla Cerati. Mondo Cocktail, Alberto Rosselli, lo spazio aperto and Roberto Sambonet, il disegno come doppio, alongside the “Arte e Pubblicità” collection (1959), which began with three books dedicated to the work of Erberto Carboni, prefaced by Herbert Bayer, Gio Ponti and Gillo Dorfles respectively, and the volume La Grecia in sogno, with a preface by Jean Cocteau, in which graphics, prints, photography and texts combine to form a single story and recreate an atmosphere suffused with subtle enchantment. Carboni himself gave the publishing house its general catalogue cover in 1962-63, followed by Paolo Lionni with his photo of Ugo Mulas (1963) and Marco del Corno, who would go on to become art director for a few years.

In the mid-90s, Silvana redefined its publishing strategy, embarking on a path of growth and development on the national and international markets, focused on the fields of art, design, architecture and photography, all of which is documented in the on-site catalogue.

Today, Silvana Editoriale publishes more than 400 titles a year in collaboration with Foundations, Research Institutes, Universities and Museums across Europe, the United States and the Middle East.

In the field of ancient art, in addition to monographs and exhibition catalogues, we fondly remember our series “Studi della Biblioteca Hertziana” (since 2006), and “Biblioteca d’Arte” (since 2002), that brings together essays, research and proceedings from national and international conferences, today spanning more than 60 titles, and the magazine Arte Medievale (since 2002).

In the field of modern and contemporary art, alongside monographs our flagship “Biblioteca d’Arte Contemporanea” (since 2001), which now has more than 30 titles, and the “Fil rouge” series, which tells the stories of collectors and their collections, as well as a series of general, reasoned catalogues on Italian and foreign artists, including recently on Francesco Paolo Michetti (2018) and Achille Perilli (2019).

In the field of architecture, we would like to mention the series with the University of Architecture of Mendrisio (since 2010), in co-edition with Mendrisio Academy Press, and the recently-launched “Biblioteca d’Architettura” series, which will bring together essays, monographs, research and proceedings from domestic and international conferences.

In the design sector, the publishing house stands out for its commitment to flying the flag for 20th century Italian design, with the publication in particular of general catalogues in collaboration with private archives and university archives at the IUAV in Venice and CSAC in Parma.

In the field of photography, working in partnership with Camera (Centro Italiano per la Fotografia) in Turin (since 2015), with the European Photography Festival of Reggio Emilia (since 2014), and with the Institut du Monde Arabe of Paris (since 2017), for the Biennale of Contemporary Arab Photography, all of which continue to consolidate alongside the large annual output of monographic volumes.

In the graphic design branch, raising awareness through the series “Posters/Posters” (since 2009) and “Graphics and Advertising” (since 2016), following the tradition Amilcare Pizzi began way back in 1959.