27 May 2010

"in Search of Lost Time" Photographs of Robert Polidori

Marcel Proust wrote "Our memory is like a shop in the window of which is exposed now one, now another photograph of the same person. And as a rule the most recent exhibit remains for some time the only one to be seen."

Boisserie by the brothers Rosseau
Chateau de Versailles, 
Polidori, 2007

"The only paradise is paradise lost."

Does Versailles come alive within its silent darkness? Are its corridors, petite rooms, its grande saloons haunted? One would have to think it so after leafing through the bewitching photographs of Versailles by Robert Polidori (here)

as she might appear in her cabinet at Versailles
thinking of freedom She only found at petit trianon

The images are Still.
Besotting even.
Robert Polidori’s legendary documentation of the intricate restoration work at Versailles in the 1980s is now being completed with never before seen works on show at the Camera Work. The Berlin gallery is mounting an exhibition of the artist's twenty five years of  this photographer's own haunting of the Palace with his camera. The exhibition is a selection of Polidori's recently published work, ‘Parcours Muséologique Revisité’, which has been awarded the Liliane Bettencourt Prix de la Photographie.

Chambre du capitaine des gardes
Chateau de Versailles
Polidori, 2007

"Only through Art can we get outside of ourselves 
and know another's view of the universe." 

Salles du XIX, Attique du Nord, Aile du Nord - Attique, 
Chateau de Versailles

"All our final decisions are made in a state of mind
that is not going to last."

Entrée de Napoléon à Berlin 
by Charles Meynier, 
1810 Attique du Midi, Aile du Midi Attique
hateau de Versailles
 Polidori, 2009

"We say that the hour of death cannot be forecast, but when we say this we imagine that hour as placed in an obscure and distant future. It never occurs to us that it has any connection with the day already begun or that death could arrive this same afternoon, this afternoon which is so certain and which has every hour filled in advance." Proust

Robert Polidori  is an international photographer whose work has been published in "The New Yorker" – of which he is the main photographer,“Geo,” “Vanity Fair,” & ”Architectural Digest. Camera Work has exhibited Polidori's work of Havana, New York and the Russian Kremlin.
Camera Work here
8 May - 26 June 2010
Contemporary Photography and Vintage Masterworks
Kantstraße 149 . 10623 Berlin

little links for reading,
see beautiful photographs of Versailles from Stefan here and his posts about Petit Trianon here, here, 
here  here  The photographs and details are so beautifully done by Stefan of Architect Design.
read a Strange Encounter at Versailles here
about Marie Antoinette on pbs here
Paintings in Proust, a must have books for little augury readers here


  1. I went to Paris and not to Versailles. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to go back.

  2. We toured Versailles, and the walls, the light, all added years to my mind.

  3. Would love to go to Versailles one day. Very interesting post. Have a great weekend.

  4. We will all get there! Patricia, I love that-"all added years to my mind."

    Great and safe weekend to all- Gaye

  5. As once YSL commented when an interviewer asked him:

    "You have traveled to China and all the places that you represent in your fashions?"

    He replied:

    "I have not, but I have read all about them and in my mind I HAVE TRAVELED there without ever leaving the comfort of my home."

    Well...verbatim, or not, the message is CLEAR.

    I have been fortunate to have been and Polidori is a Master Photographer in as much as he has had access to areas unseen and mostly during restoration and after hours...this has taken around 20-25 years to complete the cycle at Versailles.

    My favorite photo is of Marie Antoinettes' daybed in the Meridienne room behind her Royal Chambers...a small inset bed with mirrors so aged and the coverlet of pale blue silk with swags and tassle-all covered in industrial plastic sheet that shimmers into the mirror. You wonder what SHE thought while laying there pondering the Fersen, Polignac and XVI movies she had too endure, an escape for sure.

    Versailles is like Venice ~ a Beautiful Queen languishing amidst the decay of Humanity ~ shimmering like a Goddess on Earth until she decides to depart for Mt. Olympus.

  6. As always I am stunned by the beauty, poetry and profoundness of your posts, beautiful photos and lovely words... How do you do it? Have a lovely weekend, Love from London, Carole x

  7. Thanks for mentioning me -i'm honored -especially to be amongst such illustrious company! So glad you pointed this out to us all; I can never get enough of that place! Already planning my next visit!

  8. Madamoiselle, many thanks, just can't help putting Proust and these wonderful photos together, there is something very elegant and serene about them-they need to be shared.

  9. Stefan, You are so welcome and I am bowled over by your photos and posts about Petit Trianon. It is a perfect tour. I bet you are a terrific organizer. Gaye

  10. anyone who can put Proust, Polidori and besotting in one post has my attention! Incredible. Merci.

  11. It is not because other people are dead that our affection for them fades. It is because we ourselves are dying to be replaced by a new self.


  12. Wonderful juxtapositions of images and words - once again you are channeling your inner curator here :)



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