Cover image for Lucien Clergue : poésie photographique
Lucien Clergue : poésie photographique
Clergue, Lucien.
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Publication Information:
Munich ; New York : Prestel, 2003.
Physical Description:
143 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 30 cm


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TR654 .C586 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



This photographic retrospective of the renowned contemporary photographer includes'and looks beyond'his famous Picasso portraits and sumptuous nudes to explore the lifelong obsessions and passions of a brilliant artist.This collection of almost one hundred and fifty images traces the dynamic continuum that is Clergue's career: from the mysterious gypsies of his childhood, and his friendships with Picasso, Cocteau and other avant-garde personalities, to breathtaking images of sea and sand, riveting nudes, and searing portraits. Together these images, some of them never published before, create a showcase of Clergue's decades-long fascination with life, death, and the ?mysterious in between.' This volume also includes a biography that highlights Clergue's accomplishments as an artist, an essay on his ventures into surrealism, and a series of correspondence between Clergue and Jean Cocteau.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Clergue (b. 1934) was a key figure in the mid-twentieth-century endgame argument over the artistic status of photography. Raised to have and pursue artistic inclinations, he took up photography in adolescence but had no photojournalistic or studio ambitions. He created the pictures he photographed, visually selecting and ordering materials (the objects in the photo) like a modernist artist. At age 18 he showed his work to Picasso, making a connection that would lead, eventually, to his vaulting from avocational to professional art-making photographer without benefit of newspaper or client-based work in between. Another crucial early patron wasean Cocteau, and it is hard not to see Cocteau's as well as Picasso's--indeed, all of modernist art's--strong interest in calligraphy and hieroglyphics in much of Clergue's imagery, especially his pictures of dead animals in sand, of grasses and partial nudes in water, and of cracks; he is drawn to find and tease out the traces of writing --that is, the sign of intelligent notice, other than the photographer's--in the most natural and spontaneous things. Editor Turck's introductory essay on him here is never even slightly off the mark in its citations of what to look for in the 59 plates representing Clergue's many projects that are the all-too-slender heart of this enrapturing book (seven portraits of friends and various informal photos of Clergue also appear). --Ray Olson Copyright 2004 Booklist

Choice Review

Clergue, born in Arles in 1934, is one of the leading French photographic artists. He enjoys an international reputation and has had numerous exhibits around the world, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He has published his photographs in several monographic works, but this is the first retrospective volume covering all aspects of his photography from its beginning in 1953. Given early encouragement by such art world luminaries as Picasso and Cocteau, one can see in Clergue's work the influences of many realist and abstract painting styles as well as an interest in typical French subjects such as gypsies, bullfights, and especially the female nude. The main text is by German writer Turck, who provides the biographical background of Clergue's life and some analysis of the imagery. There is a second, more interpretative text, "The Topicality of Myth" by Kranzfelder. A chronology and brief artist's statement follow an adequately laid out and reproduced portfolio section of 61 black-and-white photographs and seven in color. The picture selection, looking beyond this one photographer, provides a good overview of the broader nature of postwar European art photography. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through professionals. P. C. Bunnell emeritus, Princeton University