Lucien Clergue

Les fantastiques nus du photographe Lucien Clergue

Publié le 01 Août 2014 par

1934 – Lucien Clergue was born in Arles, France, on August 14th. He starts to learn the violin at 7 years old.

1944 – He is very affected by the War, his house is entirely destroyed by the bombs.

1949 – His mother offers him a camera.

1952 – His mother dies. He stops studying and starts working at the factory.

1953 – He meets Pablo Picasso in Arles. Trip to Spain. His first photographs are published in the daily local newspaper Le Provençal.

1954 – He discovers the world of theatre and actors which he loves with Jean Vilar at the Festival d’Avignon, France. He takes photographs of The death of Julius Cesar, from the play by Shakespeare directed by Jean Renoir in Arles amphitheatre. During eight months he shoots the series Saltimbanques in the ruins of Arles.

1955 – He visits Picasso in his studio in Cannes. Series on death animals. He discovers the flamenco guitar player Manitas de Plata in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France.

1956 – He meets the poet and film director Jean Cocteau. First nudes on the beach in the Camargue.

1957 – Max Ernst who was introduce by Jean Cocteau becomes his first collector with the purchase of Flamants morts dans les sables (Dead Flamingoes in the sand).

1959 – He quits the factory to become an independant photographer. Jean Cocteau invites him on the set of his last movie, Le Testament d’Orphée in les Baux-de-Provence, France.

1960 – Edward Steichen purchase nine photographs for the photo collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, USA.

1961 – Edward Steichen invites him to be part of the exhibition Diogenes with a camera N° 5 at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York. Marcel Breuer offers him his Rolleiflex camera. He meets Alexei Brodovitch, W. Eugene Smith, Robert Frank and Grace Mayer.

1963 – Wedding with Yolande Wartel. Birth of his first daughter Anne. Goes to Chandigarh, India to take photographs. Designs a collection of scarves for Givenchy, Paris, France.

1965 – He works in the marshes in the Camargue. Meeting with the poet Saint John Perse.

Advisor for the creation of the photo department of the Musée Réattu, Arles, France.

1966 – Prix Louis Lumière for Le Drame du taureau, short film in black and white. Birth of Olivia, his second daughter, Picasso will be her godfather.

1968 – Film director for Picasso, War, Love and Peace for the series Museum without Walls, Universal Pictures. His movie Delta de sel (1967) is presented at the Cannes Film Festival and nominated for an Oscar.

1969 – Picasso invites him to film his studio in Mougins. He becomes artistic director of Arles Festival, and creates “les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie” with Jean-Maurice Rouquette and the writer Michel Tournier.

1970 – First nudes in the forest. First year of the photo projections of the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles.

1971 – World tour in 55 days. Meeting with Ansel Adams in Carmel, first photographs in Point Lobos.

1972 – Designer for the setting of the ballet Orlando Furioso presented at the theatre la Fenice, Venezia, Italy.

1973 – He is very affected by the death of Picasso.

1974 – He invites Ansel Adams to the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, Ansel Adams invites him to a workshop in the USA . He is elected as a member of the Académie d’Arles. He teaches at the University of Provence in Marseille and gives a lecture in Scandinavia. Meeting with Aleksandras Macijauskas in Leningrad, goes to Varsaw and Prague meeting with Josef Sudek et Jan Saudek.

1975 – First Urban Nude series in Paris and New York. He starts to shoot in color. The series « Langage des Sables » Language of the Sand is purchased by the Centre National d’Art Contemporain (CNAC) for the photo collection of Centre Pompidou, Paris, France.

1976 – He becomes the artistic director of the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles.

1977 – Death of his father. Continues the series Urban Nude in the US and Canada.

1978 – Trips to Japan and Mexico. Teaches photography in Germany.

1979 – Becomes a doctor in photography with « Langage des Sables » at the University of Provence, Marseille, France in front of Roland Barthes. There is no text neither words, images only.

1980 – First nudes in the American desert. Decorated Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite.

1981 – First photographs in Death Valley. First photographs with a Polaroïd. Lecture on Picasso at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, for the celebration of his 100th birthday.

1982 – The first School of Photography opens sin Arles, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie (ENSP). He will be appointed as a teacher until 1999.

1983 – Invited by the Musée Unterlinden in Colmar, France to work on the Retable d’Issenheim by Grünewald. Artistic director of the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles. Invited as a teacher for the last workshop by Ansel Adams in Carmel.

1984 –Works with Polaroïd SX 70 and compose collages. Photographs at White Sand National Monument, New Mexico.

1985 – First photographs with a large Polaroïd  (20 x 24 inches) in Boston.

1986- Polaroïd (20×24 inches) at studio Polaroïd in New York.

Nudes at White Sand National Monument, New Mexico.

1987 – Works with Image System Polaroïd. Works with Paul Jenkins and Karel Appel for their ballets presented in Paris, salle Favart.

1988 – « Collectors Photography » publish his works with Polaroïd. Teacher in Boca Raton, (Florida) and Toledo, (Ohio).

1989 – Invited to the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles.

1990 – Trip to Lithuania, meeting with photographers from Vilnius and Kaunas. Trip to Egypt, exhibition in Alexandria. First double exposure photographs in color “bullfights-nudes” (Florida). Trip to Japan. He is the first teacher to be invited to the University of Osaka, Japan.

1991 – Invited as a teacher in North and South America. Exhibitions in New York, Boca Raton, Miami, Caracas, Sao Paolo and in Venezuela. He shoots at the Egyptian department at the Metropolitan Museum in New York for his double exposures series. Curator for a Tina Modotti/ Edward Weston exhibition at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles.

1992 – Trip to Taiwan.

1993 – Creation of a show with French pianist Stephan Kochoyan “Jazz y Toros” at Théatre de Nîmes and Théatre Antique in Arles for the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles, in Bayonne and Béziers, France.

1994 – Artistic director of the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles. Enters in the collections of Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP), Paris.

1995 – The Swiss collector Charlotte Reber donates 450 works by Lucien Clergue to Harvard University, Cambridge, USA.

1996 – Lecture at Harvard University, Cambridge, USA for the Reber donation. World Press Photo in Amsterdam.

1997 – Shoots the nude series in color and double exposure. Shoots in American museums and at Le Louvre in Paris.

1998 – The Swiss collector Marina Staehelin, donates her whole collection of Lucien Clergue photographs to several Swiss museums.

1999 – Invited at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles.

2001 – Prohibited from entering Cuba by Fidel Castro administration because of his nude photographs.

2002 – Honored by the city of Nimes for the 50 years of the Feria at the Musée des Beaux Arts.

2006 – First photographer to be elected at the Académie des Beaux Arts, Institut de France, Paris. Opens the Eighth section dedicated to Photography. Lucien Clergue, Fifty years of photography, recent and vintage works, Louis Stern Fine Arts Gallery, West Hollywood, USA.

2007 – Introduction reception at the Institut de France October10th. Christian Lacroix designs his costume and his sword. Starts the Price of Photography of the Académie des Beaux Arts exclusively supported by F. Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière (Fimalac).

2008 – The Association Lucien Clergue en Pays d’Arles is created to develop the fame of the artist. Decorated Commandeur des Arts et Lettres.

2009- Exhibition Les Gitans et leur Prince José Reyes, Palais de l’Archevêché, Arles ; Picasso chez Cézanne, Atelier Cézanne and Cité du Livre, Aix en Provence ; Lucien Clergue, Yann Arthus Bertrand, Deux Photographes académiciens, Musée Marmottan, Paris. Lucien Clergue, The intimate Picasso, Louis Stern Fine Arts Gallery, West Hollywood, USA.

2010- Exhibition Clergue dans l’arène, 50 ans de Tauromachie, Palais de l’Archevêché, Arles.

Caochangdi Photospring Festival, Les Rencontres d’Arles, Beijing, Chine.

2011- Exhibition Lucien Clergue, Jean Cocteau et le Testament d’Orphée, Maison de la Photographie, Moscow, Russia. Clergue in America, Palais de l’Archevêché, Arles ; Le Testament d’Orphée, Musée Cocteau, Menton. Inviter at the Nordic Light Photo Festival, Kristiansund, Norvège.

2012 – Nuit de la Photographie, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Suisse.

2013 – President of the Académie des Beaux Arts, Paris.

2014 – On the occasion of his 80th birthday, lots of exhibitions are organized, in New York, Toronto, Aix-en-Provence and Arles.

60 años en las Plazas de toro, Madrid, Las Ventas.
He passed away in Nimes, on November 15th.

In 2015, he is honored by the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles. The City of Nîmes choose one of his bullfight double exposure image for the poster of the Feria 2015. “Musical Calligraphy – homage to Lucien Clergue” La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. Posthumous award by the Manuel Rivera Ortiz Foundation in Arles. The Grand Palais welcome his work with the exhibition “Lucien Clergue, Les Premiers Albums” November 14th 2015 through February15th 2016 curated by François Hébel and Christian Lacroix. The exhibition is organized by the RMN-Grand Palais in collaboration with Lucien Clergue’ Studio.


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