Guy Bourdin (French, 1928-1991)
Birth Place: Paris, France
Who is photographer Guy Bourdin?
Guy Bourdin was a French photographer and artist who is known for his provocative images and high fashion magazine and ad work for cultural touchstones like Harper’s Bazaar, Pentax, and Chanel. Bourdin was able to merge the worlds of fashion, commercial art, and fine art in ways that few photographers had done before, and few have done since. His pieces often courted controversy but never seemed to outshine his prodigious talent and eye for the unique. He is considered one of the best-known photographers of the 20th century and frequently makes “best of the century” lists.
Bourdin’s work has been collected in several public collections including the Tate in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Portrait Gallery, the International Center for Photography, the Getty Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He has published several books of photography, most notably the self-titled, Guy Bourdin (2003), and Guy Bourdin: Polaroids (2010).
What kind of art does Guy Bourdin make?
Guy Bourdin is primarily known for his photography which often featured fashion portraits of women. Some of these pieces created controversy at the time, an idea that Bourdin cultivated actively. His pieces have been described as “richly sensual” and were often inspired by literature and cinema. He was mentored by the great photographer, Man Ray, and that mentorship is often evident in Bourdin’s work. Bourdin’s work often has heavy color saturation, with cropped compositions that promote his own brand of hyper-realism. Bourdin’s work was commercially successful, in part because he seemed to treat those pieces with the same care and respect as his fine art. He believed that above all the product must be secondary to the image.
How did photographer Guy Bourdin get started?
Bourdin was born in Paris on December 2nd, 1928. He was sent to live with his grandparents as a child after his parents separated. He worked at their bakery, only seeing his mother once when she presented him with a gift. At the age of 18, he met an art dealer named Lucien Henry, that meeting proved to be influential in the young artist’s life, he lived with the man for six months where he worked on painting and drawing. He enrolled in the Airforce and was stationed in Dakar in the late 1940s. It was there that he received his photographic training, working to shoot images for map-making purposes from an airplane. When he was released from the service, he returned to Paris where he worked numerous odd jobs while developing his style. He was turned away by his eventual mentor Man Ray six times before eventually wearing him down. Man Ray wrote the catalog for Bourdin’s first exhibition in 1952, putting the young photographer on the map.
How much are Guy Bourdin photographs worth?
Guy Bourdin’s photographs can be worth anywhere from around a thousand dollars to over $15,000 for a notable work. His highest-selling piece at a Heritage Auction is the photograph Vogue Paris, Anthurium (1976) which sold for $15,000 on October 12th, 2018. Heritage has sold several of his works for over $4,000, including a Charles Jourdan advertisement and a wonderfully quirky piece entitled Papier Toilette (1972) from the Kodak Photo Expo.
Where to buy Guy Bourdin photographs for sale?
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How to value Guy Bourdin photographs?
The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services department.
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