Advanced Search

K-12 Educator
K-12 Student
Museum Visitor
UMMA Docent
UMMA Staff
University Faculty
University Student
Between and Mortarboard

UMMA Object Specific Fields

Query builder


Accession Number


Guy Bourdin

Artist Nationality
French (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
chromogenic print on paper

13 1/16 in x 18 1/16 in (33.18 cm x 45.88 cm)

Credit Line
Anonymous Gift: New York

Subject matter
​This is a chromogenic reproduction of a plate from Sighs and Whispers. Bourdin was commissioned by Arthur Cohen, the vice president of Bloomingdale’s, to produce this photographic series for the store’s September 1976 lingerie catalog. The catalog quickly became a collector's item, due to the scarcity of Bourdin's work. He rarely chose to reproduce his photographs in contexts other than magazines and catalogs. This series exemplifies Bourdin's atypical and boundary-pushing approach to fashion photography. The series references but does not create narrative through the deployment of tableau and B-movie aesthetics. Bourdin employed formal devices such as cropped interior spaces, dramatic lighting, cast shadows, and often-overt references to sexuality, which were strategies that he utilized throughout his career.​ When this catalog was released in America, it was met with mixed reviews and controversy, much like his notorious work for Charles Jourdan Shoes in France in preceding decades.

Physical Description
A color photograph of three models in blue satin night wear posing on a sofa. One model sits in the center of the composition while the other two recline, leaning on the arms of the purple satin couch and mirroring one another's pose. Like many images in this series, Bourdin has taken the layout of the catalog into consideration in the formal realization of the image. 

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

cast shadows
couches (reclining furniture)
fashion photography
indoor photography
models (people)
modern and contemporary art
women (female humans)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved