University of Provence
Lucien Clergue in 1958
Clergue in January 2013 (Photo: François Besch)
Lucien Clergue and Picasso, Cocteau
Lucien Clergue and Picasso
(A legendary French photographer presents a dramatic visua...)
A legendary French photographer presents a dramatic visual journal of the creation of Jean Cocteau's remarkable film Testament of Orpheus, capturing the essentail scene and symbols of the movie and providing a poignant portrait of Cocteau.
At the age of 10, Lucien Clergue experienced the destruction and poverty of war and the illness of his mother, both of which were to affect him profoundly. When he returned from evacuation to the countryside, it was to find a pile of rubble where his house had been. A devoted son, Lucien took care of his mother until her death when he was 18.
Lucien Clergue received a doctorate in photography from the University of Provence, Marseille, France, in 1979. He also received a musical education, concentrating on the violin.
Lucien Clergue studied basic photography techniques in the late 1940s, while he was still a teenager, and executed his first series of photographs in the mid-1950s. Within a few years, he had also befriended (along with Pablo Picasso) the versatile artist Jean Cocteau, a distinguished writer, painter, and filmmaker. Lucien Clergue and Cocteau would collaborate on several books, with Clergue supplying the photographs and Cocteau producing the text. Among their books are Poesie der Photographie, Toros muertos, Numero Uno: A Portrait of Antonio Ordonez in Twenty-Four Photographs, and Le Testament d’Orphee. The latter volume derives from photographs made by Clergue while on the set of Cocteau’s film of the same title.
In the mid-1960s, even as he remained active as a photographer, Lucien Clergue also began working as a filmmaker. He won the Lumiere Prize for his first work, Drame du Taureau, which appeared in 1965, and he received an Academy Award nomination for Delta de sel, which was released in 1968. Among Clergue’s other notable films is Picasso: Guerre, Amour, et Paix, a film about the noted twentieth-century Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso, whom Clergue first met in the early 1950s.
Lucien Clergue came to the United States in 1961 and became acquainted with landscape photographer Ansel Adams. A few years later Clergue travelled the country, photographing nudes in urban settings. During the next decade, he executed a series of photographs of Death Valley and published Nude Workshop, which featured nude photographs from throughout Clergue’s career.
In 1969 Lucien Clergue launched the photography festival for which Arles is still famous, and the next year made a round-the-world journey, during which he met in Carmel the American photographer Ansel Adams, famous for his landscape photography, in particular, his illustrious pictures of the Grand Canyon and the Yosemite National Park (California). Adams attended the Arles festival in 1974 and 1976 while Clergue came to work in his Yosemite studio several times between 1971 and 1983.
In 1974 Lucien Clergue began to teach first at the University of Provence in Marseilles and then, in 1982, opened the National School of Photography, where he held a professorship till his retirement.
During his career, he has also been a guest lecturer, at various times, at the Ansel Adams Workshops, Yosemite; the Friends of Photography Workshops, Carmel; the University of Arizona, Tucson; and the University of California at Los Angeles, among others.
(A legendary French photographer presents a dramatic visua...)2001
(This collection of almost 150 images traces the dynamic c...)2003
Lucien Clergue was a member of the Academie d’Arles, Association Nationale Photographers Créateurs, Parc Regional Camargue, Société des Amis Jean Cocteau and Association des Amis de la Fond. St John Perse.
Lucien Clergue was married to the art curator Yolande Clergue, founder of The Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles. He was the father of two daughters: Anne Clergue, a curator of contemporary art who has worked at Leo Castelli Gallery, and Olivia Clergue, a handbag fashion designer whose godfather was Pablo Picasso.