“Chateau Gabriel,” Yves Saint Laurent: Country House, Normandy
As the creative director of photography for Vogue, Horst’s portraits were in demand. He took on assignments of photographing noteworthy and prominent individuals such as Coco Chanel, Helen Bennett, Andy Warhol, Gertrude Stein, Iman, Marlene Dietrich, and Nina de Voogh. Among these photographs is that of Yves Saint Laurent, taken in the country home of him and his partner, Pierre Bergé, “Château Gabriel” in the northwest of France. As one of the most influential designers of the time, Yves Saint Laurent was photographed by Horst from the 1950s to the 1980s. In this image “Château Gabriel” Yves Saint Laurent”, commissioned by French Vogue in December of 1983, Horst captures a relaxed Saint Laurent perched on his couch within the interior of his home, in suit and tie, smiling towards the camera and exuding a cosmopolitan radiance.
Châtaeu Gabriel was designed to reflect the aristocratic French world of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time; Saint Laurent was Swann and Bergé the Baron de Charlus. Artist Paul Meriguet painted the water lily mural while a friend, Jacques Grange, decorated the interior. The château and its rooms, named after characters in Proust’s novel, ultimately served as a refuge from the heat they experienced in their summer home in Marrakech. This rare, lifetime signed photograph is an example of how the refinement of Horst helped define and heighten the elegance and almost magical world of Yves Saint Laurent.
Timeless Beauty and Elegance
Horst P. Horst’s work exudes timeless beauty and elegance often emulated by photographers who came after and were influenced by him like Eric Borman, Bruce Weber, Richard Avedon, and Robert Mapplethorpe among others. With one of the longest spanning careers in photography that lasted sixty years from 1931 to 1991, Horst left legacies both as a fashion and as a portrait photographer. Horst’s legendary portraits are an invaluable archive of the salient and most talented individuals of the 20th century.
Text by www.holdenluntz.com