Lucien Clergue

How did Pablo Picasso decide to sponsor this young man, not yet twenty, as he introduced himself to him at the end of a corrida in Arles to show him his photographs? The answer lies in Lucien Clergue’s first albums, which remained unknown until his recent death at the age of 80 on the 15th November 2014. They comprise advertising sample catalogues originally designed as support for fabrics, tiny colour pictures, blank white pages that the artist claimed and on which he pasted his black and white photographs instead. The unusual intensity and sensitivity that emanate from the whole are astonishing, blending solemnness, the staging of people, still lifes, documentaries, ruins and nudes. Through these three leading albums compiled over two essential years, Lucien Clergue’s entire career is already set.