Sighs and Whispers

Guy Bourdin


Edition : First / New York / Bloomingdales / 1976 / Hardcover. / VG+
Small Oblong 4to. 34pp. Printed wrappers. Something I didn’t even know existed – a specially bound hardcover issue of Bourdin’s legendary Sighs and Whispers. From the binding details it looks to have been bound by hand, and the comp slip laid in indicates that it was most likely a presentation copy. It is difficult to speculate how many copies were made, ordinarily it could be any number between 5 and 50, but this is pure speculation. Review copies were the regular softcover issue, so this was very much a friends and family variant. Either way, I have never seen one before in my life, and it is unlikely I will ever see one again. The note on the comp slip indicates that the catalogue was collected at the time, which is an interesting piece of context.

The only ‘Book’ as it were, of his work published during his lifetime. Bourdin was extremely publicity shy, and was not interested in praise or the publishing of his work, meaning that during his lifetime he was overshadowed by contemporaries such as Newton. However, since his death in 1991, there has been a critical re-appraisal of his work, often typified by its surreal and menacing imagery. This- ‘Sighs and Whispers’ is a complete work made in 1976 whilst he was working for Chales Jourdan, Gianfranco Ferre etc. and was shot as a lingerie catalogue for Bloomingdales using models he had found himself in various nightclubs and cafes. Eerie and ethereal, it is considered by many to be his best work.

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