Guy Bourdin - Photographs London Tuesday, November 23, 2021 | Phillips
  • 'I have never perceived myself as responsible for my images. They are just accidents. I am not a director, merely an agent of chance.' —Guy BourdinCreated in 1972, the present work represents a defining fulfilment of the creative collaboration between legendary image-maker Guy Bourdin (1928-1991) and French Vogue. Here, the daring yet uncanny composition is imbued with Bourdin’s distinctive aesthetic sensibilities. The contrasting colours of dream-like pastels against the flaming hair, the reclining figure’s off-kilter pose, the multiple mirrors in the background and the discarded heels in the foreground together heighten the subject’s sense of abandon. Bourdin’s unique visual language provokes the imagination and draws the viewer into the enticingly enigmatic mise en scène, enhanced by the fragmentation of the reclining figure across the mirrors’ reflections.


    Key contributor to French Vogue from 1955 through 1987, Bourdin pushed the boundaries of fashion photography with his sophisticated, seductive images that evoked a sense of mystery and the surreal. The surrealist aesthetic in his oeuvre is often attributed to his mentor Man Ray whom he met in Paris in 1950 and who wrote the catalogue forward for his first solo exhibition of photographs in 1952. Bourdin left an extraordinary legacy of radically changing fashion photography by presenting the clothes and accessories as merely one element of his narratives, while engaging with society’s shifting attitudes towards femininity and sexuality. His instantly recognisable signature style continues to influence image-makers today.

    • Provenance

      Michael Hoppen Gallery, London

    • Exhibited

      Glam! The Performance of Style, Tate Liverpool, 8 February - 12 May 2013; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 13 June - 22 September 2013; Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, 19 October 2013 - 2 February 2014, this lot

    • Literature

      French Vogue, December 1981 – January 1982, pp. 214-215
      C. Cotton & S. Verthime, Guy Bourdin, London: V&A, 2003, pl. 55, pp. 180-181
      C. Lowndes & S. Verthime, Guy Bourdin: A Message For You, Sao Pauolo: Iguatemi, 2005, n.p.
      N. Meyer & S Verthime, Guy Bourdin: A Message For You, Göttingen: Stiedl/Dangin, 2006, p. 18
      S. Verthime, In Between, Göttingen: Steidl, 2010, pp. 120-121, titled Charles Jourdan, March 1972
      Guy Bourdin – Femininities, Paris: Chloé & Idea, 2017, pp. 152-153



French Vogue, March 1972

Chromogenic print, mounted, printed later.
Image: 60.5 x 96.5 cm (23 7/8 x 37 7/8 in.)
Frame: 86 x 122 cm (33 7/8 x 48 in.)

Signed, numbered 2/18 by Samuel Bourdin, Executor, in ink and Estate copyright credit stamp on the reverse of the mount.

This work is number 2 from the sold-out edition of 18. This image exists only in this size and edition.

Full Cataloguing

£30,000 - 40,000 

Sold for £25,200

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London Auction 23 November 2021