Sylvie Selig was born in Nice, France, in 1941. She lives and works in Paris.
She started working in Melbourne, Australia —where she had settled with her mother— and in 1953 she won a prestigious award from the Victorian Art Society and Sun Youth Art Show. In 1958, Selig’s career took off as she created theatre decors, worked as an assistant for Helmut Newton, and participated in various group exhibitions, including the opening of the Melbourne Museum of Modern Art. She held her first solo gallery exhibition in 1959.
Selig returned then to Europe, first to London for a year of painting and then to Paris, where she worked as an illustrator for Elle magazine for half a decade. In 1966, she published her first children’s book, Le petit arbre, which won the prize for the best book at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Selig moved to New York City in 1966 and worked for magazines and major publishers until she returned to Paris in 1970 to continue working as an illustrator.
In 1980, Selig returned to painting and devoted the following two decades to intensive work on this medium. Her manifold practice includes paintings on canvas, sometimes working in panoramic, unfolding and cinematic compositions up to 50 meters long. But she also creates drawings on linen or gauze, using fine-tipped pens or ink, and applying stitching and embroidered details to the surface.
Although she held several solo exhibitions in France during this period, her work only took the spotlight in recent years. Starting with a vast solo exhibition in Paris in 2009, and leading to her participation in the 16th Lyon Biennial: Manifesto of Fragility, curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath in 2022.