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 Bourdin

    Created in 1978, the present work represents a defining fulfilment of the creative collaboration between legendary image-maker Guy Bourdin (1928-1991) and French shoe designer Charles Jourdan. Here, the daring yet uncanny composition is imbued with Bourdin’s distinctive aesthetic sensibilities: hyperreal hues, theatrical lighting, the subject’s dynamic pose and the unexpected insertion of a black-and-white Polaroid to create a photograph within a photograph. Bourdin’s unique visual language provokes the imagination and draws the viewer into the enticingly enigmatic mise en scène, enhanced by the disruption of the picture plane through the layering of images. The oversized work, offered here, is from an edition of one and is unique in this size.


    Best known for his groundbreaking ad campaigns for Charles Jourdan and his provocative editorials in French Vogue during the 1960s and 70s, 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

    • Literature

      N. Meyer & S. Verthime, Guy Bourdin: A Message For You, Göttingen: Stiedl/Dangin, 2006, p. 11
      Guy Bourdin: Unseen, London: Phillips de Pury & Co., 2007, pl. 4
      N. Meyer, Charles Bourdin: A Message For You, Göttingen: Stiedl/Dangin, 2013, p. 35
      Guy Bourdin: Miami, Paris: Louis Vuitton, 2016, n.p.


Charles Jourdan, Spring 1978

Chromogenic print, mounted, printed later.
Image: 101 x 145.4 cm (39 3/4 x 57 1/4 in.)
Frame: 122.5 x 165.5 cm (48 1/4 x 65 1/8 in.)

Signed, numbered 1/1 by Samuel Bourdin, Executor, in ink and copyright credit stamp on the reverse of the mount.

Full Cataloguing

£30,000 - 40,000 

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London Auction 23 November 2021