exhibitions • Current exhibition

Laure Albin Guillot, an Elegant Glance
From October 6, 2022 to January 14, 2023

Laure Albin Guillot, an Elegant Glance

From the male and Feminine nude, to the emerging advertising photography or photomicrography, still life, fashion and portraiture, Laure Albin Guillot (1879-1962) actively participated in the new Photography of the interwar period.
Over sixty contemporary prints in limited edition of 30 copies.

Study of Feminine nude, 1941.

Study of Feminine nude, 1941.
45x28 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available

Until recently, Laure Albin Guillot was known only to researchers and amateurs of old photographs. In 1996, the intuition of the collector-historian Christian Bouqueret led him to publish a first monograph (Laure Albin Guillot ou la Volonté d'art) revealing an aspect of the immense photographic production of this forgotten artist. But it was only in 2013, on the occasion of a retrospective exhibited at Jeu de Paume Museum (Laure Albin Guillot, L'Enjeu classique) that her whole work was revealed for the first time to the general public. Thanks to that event, Laure Albin Guillot recovered her rightful place in the history of photography.

Laure Albin Guillot (whose real name was Laure Meifreydi), was born in 1879 in a Parisian bourgeois family from the 16th arrondissement and grew up receiving an artistic and musical education. As a remarkable pianist, she was destined very early to a career of concert performer. But this ambition did not materialize and it was through the intermediary of her husband Albin Guillot with whom she married at 18, by proxy so to speak, that she got closer to the circle of musicians. Her husband, a young medical student turned into an expert in hospitals, a professor in nursing school, a researcher and then an industrialist, who was known primarily for his talents as organist and composer.
Albin and Laure Guillot formed a couple very close and childless. This way of living may partly explain the atypical career of the photographer. For many years she remained in the shadow of her husband, and published her first photographs in 1922 (illustrations for fashion magazines). It was only at the age of 43, when Albin's health began to deteriorate, that she embraced her new career. This late entry into professional photography allows us to understand the rapidity of her career, her sudden effervescence and soon, her "photographic hyperactivity".

Nude study with double exposure.

Nude study with double exposure.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Nude study. France, circa 1940.

Nude study. France, circa 1940.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Nude study, circa 1940.

Nude study, circa 1940.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Logo monogrammed "LAG", acronym of Laure Albin Guillot. 1930's.

Logo monogrammed "LAG", acronym of Laure Albin Guillot. 1930's.
40x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available

Her first amateur photographs of the 1910s certainly nourished an apprenticeship but had no other scope than the intimate and family environments. During the following decade, she considered her practice in a completely different way, forced to find the resources necessary for the couple's finances. Albin, who was still ill, gradually withdrew from active life and devoted himself solely to his scientific research. This inspired Laure's own reflections and experiences, seeing an unprecedented potential in photography and possible outlets for a professional activity. She associated her husband's first name with her own by creating the pseudonym "Laure Albin Guillot" and the acronym "LAG", which were to accompany her fame.

Saligenin (Chemical compound). Micrography on autochrome plate. Circa 1931.

Saligenin (Chemical compound). Micrography on autochrome plate. Circa 1931.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available

In 1931, two years after the death of her husband, Laure Albin Guillot published an impressive opus: Micrographie Décorative. This book, a luxurious collection of abstract photographs made from microscopic preparations, is nothing less than a repertoire of forms, new and resolutely modern, which aims at renewing the decorative arts. Immediately covered by the media, the publication established the reputation of the artist who, in less than ten years, had already opened a portrait studio, sold photographs to numerous magazines, and participated in many photography shows and applied arts exhibitions.

Micrograph, circa 1929.

Micrograph, circa 1929.
24x30 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Saligenium crystals. About 1929.

Saligenium crystals. About 1929.
24x30 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Sanidin, Italian porphyry. Circa 1929.

Sanidin, Italian porphyry. Circa 1929.
24x30 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Azobenzine crystals. Circa 1929.

Azobenzine crystals. Circa 1929.
24x30 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available

Laure Albin Guillot's photography is to be considered from the start as a whole practice. Benefiting from an incomparable interpersonal skills (we would speak today of an exceptional art of networking), her activity deploys an extraordinarily wide range of visual experiments, as many proposals aiming to feed an indispensable book of commissions.

Nude study. Paris, 1939.

Nude study. Paris, 1939.
40x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Nude study. Paris, 1930.

Nude study. Paris, 1930.
40x50 print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Nude at the column. France, 1938.

Nude at the column. France, 1938.
40x50 print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Nude study for a book by Henry de Montherlant. France, 1945.

Nude study for a book by Henry de Montherlant. France, 1945.
40x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Nude study, circa 1935.

Nude study, circa 1935.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Nude study.

Nude study.
40x50 print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Nude study. 1930's

Nude study. 1930's
40x30 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Nude study. 1930's

Nude study. 1930's
40x30 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Hubert de Givenchy (1927-2018), French fashion designer. Paris, 1948.

Hubert de Givenchy (1927-2018), French fashion designer. Paris, 1948.
40x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Nude study

Nude study
30x30 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Nude study, circa 1930.

Nude study, circa 1930.
30x30 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Masqued man, 1930's.

Masqued man, 1930's.
37.5x50 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available

The photographer navigates simultaneously in the literary circles, the societies of established artists but also the associations of avant-gardes and visits in parallel the editorial offices of magazines as well as the very recent marketing agencies. Her formal research serves the purposes of advertising as much as those of the illustrated press. Conversely, she does not hesitate to reclassify her advertising productions as "studies" in order to exhibit them in galleries or in art shows dedicated to photography.

Bathing suit, 1937.

Bathing suit, 1937.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Femme à l'ombrelle, 1929.

Femme à l'ombrelle, 1929.
40x50 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Paper figurine. Photograph ordered by Mr. Stutzer.

Paper figurine. Photograph ordered by Mr. Stutzer.
24x30 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Dress by Jean Patou (1887-1936), haute couture designer, circa 1925.

Dress by Jean Patou (1887-1936), haute couture designer, circa 1925.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Women's fashion. Girdle and bra, circa 1947.

Women's fashion. Girdle and bra, circa 1947.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Dress by Lucile Paray, November 1937.

Dress by Lucile Paray, November 1937.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Dress by the Parisian couturier Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895). October 1937.

Dress by the Parisian couturier Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895). October 1937.
24x30 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Hubert de Givenchy (1927-2018), French fashion designer. Paris, 1948.

Hubert de Givenchy (1927-2018), French fashion designer. Paris, 1948.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Evening dress by Marcelle Alix (Mme Tizeau and Alix Grès). Paris, 1945.

Evening dress by Marcelle Alix (Mme Tizeau and Alix Grès). Paris, 1945.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Jeanne Lanvin (1867-1946), French fashion designer draping a fabric on a model. 1930's.

Jeanne Lanvin (1867-1946), French fashion designer draping a fabric on a model. 1930's.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
The clown Rhum (real name Henri Sprocani, 1904-1953) artist of the Medrano Circus, 1950.

The clown Rhum (real name Henri Sprocani, 1904-1953) artist of the Medrano Circus, 1950.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available

In retrospect, the list of possibilities for Laure Albin Guillot appears dizzying: she is at once a portrait painter, a fashion photographer, an advertising photographer, an industrial photographer, a reporter, an illustrator, a decorator, a recognized artist (today we would say a recognized "visual artist") and above all a celebrated artist. She took part in an impressive number of exhibitions during the 1930s which allowed her to gain a visibility that no other photographer of her time could attain. Also, the number of press articles and reviews devoted to her undoubtedly makes Laure Albin Guillot the best known and most esteemed French photographer of the inter-war period, far surpassing the fame of all her male counterparts.

Louis Jouvet (1887-1951), French actor and director, in the play "Knock" by Jules Romains, 1925.

Louis Jouvet (1887-1951), French actor and director, in the play "Knock" by Jules Romains, 1925.
40x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Jacques Fath (1912-1954), French fashion designer, 1951.

Jacques Fath (1912-1954), French fashion designer, 1951.
40x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Paul Valéry (1871-1945), French writer, circa 1945.

Paul Valéry (1871-1945), French writer, circa 1945.
40x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Jean-Louis Barrault (1910-1994), French Actor, 1946.

Jean-Louis Barrault (1910-1994), French Actor, 1946.
40x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Colette (1873-1954), French writer, 1939.

Colette (1873-1954), French writer, 1939.
40x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French writer, 1939.

Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), French writer, 1939.
40x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
The prima ballerina Mariette de Rauwera in "La Mort du Cygne" at the Opéra-Comique. Paris, September 1927.

The prima ballerina Mariette de Rauwera in "La Mort du Cygne" at the Opéra-Comique. Paris, September 1927.
40x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
The prima ballerina Mariette de Rauwera in "La Mort du Cygne" at the Opéra-Comique. Paris, September 1927.

The prima ballerina Mariette de Rauwera in "La Mort du Cygne" at the Opéra-Comique. Paris, September 1927.
40x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
The prima ballerina Mariette de Rauwera in "La Mort du Cygne" at the Opéra-Comique. Paris, September 1927.

The prima ballerina Mariette de Rauwera in "La Mort du Cygne" at the Opéra-Comique. Paris, September 1927.
40x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Kodak film reels, circa 1950.

Kodak film reels, circa 1950.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Ball bearings.

Ball bearings.
40x50 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Arum.

Arum.
40x50 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Phonograph records.

Phonograph records.
45x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Advertising for the Houbigant perfume flacon, 1930s.

Advertising for the Houbigant perfume flacon, 1930s.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Shadows made by a razor blade.

Shadows made by a razor blade.
40x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
The hands of Han Harloff (1907-1982), Dutch painter of Russian origin. Paris, circa 1930.

The hands of Han Harloff (1907-1982), Dutch painter of Russian origin. Paris, circa 1930.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Advertising study for "Mazda" electric bulbs. France, 1951.

Advertising study for "Mazda" electric bulbs. France, 1951.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
The hands of Han Harloff (1907-1982), Dutch painter of Russian origin. Paris, circa 1930.

The hands of Han Harloff (1907-1982), Dutch painter of Russian origin. Paris, circa 1930.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Correspondence.

Correspondence.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available

Laure Albin Guillot’s outstanding personality enables her to be one of the few in France to consider photography from a theoretical and patrimonial point of view. Aware of the new media situation developing after the First World War through cinema, radio and the illustrated press, she wrote and published in 1933 Photographie publicitaire. This brochure deciphers the issues of the modern image, detailing the different ways of conceiving photography but also of perceiving it. At the time of this publication, Laure Albin Guillot was also an institutional figure since she was both director of the photographic archives of the Beaux-Arts (corresponding to our current Ministry for Arts) and director of the Cinémathèque Nationale (a rival project of the future Cinémathèque Française), thus combining state functions with her activities as an independent photographer. In 1934, her experience and broad vision of the audiovisual landscape even allowed her to envisage the creation of a museum aimed at preserving, distributing and combining photographic, radio and cinematographic creations. This project does not succeed but Laure Albin Guillot imagined the first multimedia art center.

Woman's face and feather, circa 1950.

Woman's face and feather, circa 1950.
27x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Feminine nude. Solarized photograph. 1940's.

Feminine nude. Solarized photograph. 1940's.
27x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Hair effect (Mademoiselle Acquerin). Paris, 1946.

Hair effect (Mademoiselle Acquerin). Paris, 1946.
40x60 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Metal components used in locksmithery, 1950s.

Metal components used in locksmithery, 1950s.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Car wheel rims, circa 1950.

Car wheel rims, circa 1950.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Advertising study for the perfumery Vibert Frères. Paris, July 1943.

Advertising study for the perfumery Vibert Frères. Paris, July 1943.
30x30 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Advertising study for "Jako" cleaning powder. France, 1930s.

Advertising study for "Jako" cleaning powder. France, 1930s.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Advertising poster for Gitanes Vizir cigarettes, 1939. Photograph by Laure Albin-Guillot. Bibliothèque Forney Ville de Paris.

Advertising poster for Gitanes Vizir cigarettes, 1939. Photograph by Laure Albin-Guillot. Bibliothèque Forney Ville de Paris.
21x29.7 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Advertisement for the perfume "Rendez-vous" by Le Galion. France, 1939.

Advertisement for the perfume "Rendez-vous" by Le Galion. France, 1939.
21x29.7 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Woman portrait, circa 1940.

Woman portrait, circa 1940.
27x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Feminine hairstyle, 1941.

Feminine hairstyle, 1941.
27x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available
Gloves, artificial flowers.

Gloves, artificial flowers.
35x50 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available

She occupies this first rank of the personalities considered as active and influential until the Second World War. Until the end of her career, in 1954, she illustrated various commissioned works and published several artists' books in collaboration with authors such as Paul Valéry, Marcelle Meurette and Henry de Montherlant. She continues to develop a personal work but, gradually, it appears outdated: the once daring framings are replaced by a figurative imagery less inventive and far from new expectations or new tastes of the time.

Laure Albin Guillot (1879-1962), French photographer, 1920-1960.

Laure Albin Guillot (1879-1962), French photographer, 1920-1960.
30x40 cm print. Limited edition of 30 copies.

available

In the aftermath of the war, Laure Albin Guillot is an elderly notoriety, a figure from a bygone era. This growing gap explains in part the oblivion into which she gradually falls. Moreover, the one who was forced to respond to countless orders for economic reasons ends a prodigious career in a certain financial decline. She died almost in isolation in 1962, a few years after being moving in a retirement home for artists in Nogent-sur-Marne.

Remember that Laure Albin Guillot is just a photographer and that she is allowed to move in that retirement home, intended for painters, engravers and sculptors, only thanks to a very exceptional favor. The energy she has been deploying during all her active years also aimed at counterbalancing the discredit or even the certain contempt of the profession that she practiced. Considered as a reproduction technique, photography was for a long time judged as a mechanical illustration, an image without personality and especially without author. Indeed, it was not until the 1970s, ten years after the death of Laure Albin Guillot, that photography was gradually considered as a category of fine arts. The creation and development of festivals (starting with Les Rencontres d’Arles), of magazines, galleries and exhibition spaces specific to photography, shed light on authors at the end of their working years such as Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier Bresson, Florence Henri or Dora Maar. It is by breaking with conventions like Laure Albin Guillot did in her time that photography has become as it is today and considered as an art itself. The present exhibition is a new recognition of the talent and role of the one who used to be called in her time "the great lady of photography". The circle is finally complete.
Michaël Houlette
Director of La Maison de la Photographie Robert Doisneau and Le Lavoir Numérique