Untitled from "Unseen Versailles", 1980-1981
Signed Deborah Turbeville and numbered Artist Proof on verso. Gelatin silver print, image 27.5 x 41 cm.
Directly from the photographer to the current owner.
Nobody did mood like Deborah Turbeville. The American sample model turned magazine editor turned fashion photographer, who died in 2013 at age 81, trafficked in mysterious images that upended the beauty business's perfectly maquillaged sense of glamour. Instead, Turbeville turned out old-fashioned gelatin prints that seemed to have come straight out of an abandoned attic trunk, their silvered surfaces and expert blurring giving them an air of haute melancholy.
"I like to hear a clock ticking in my pictures," Turbeville once observed, and never more poignantly did it tick than in her award-winning book Unseen Versailles (Doubleday, 1982).
Rather than pandering to the palace's ancien-régime glitter, though, the photographer went in search of unused, unrestored rooms, scattering their floors with autumn leaves to emphasize the chambers' desuetude. The result was a chilling but strangely magical panoply of twilit, dust-sheeted chambers that seem to wait, in vain, for Prince Charming's kiss.
Text from Architectural Digest 31 December 2014