Life and Work

Lucien Clergue © Michael Dannenmann

Lucien Clergue's photographic work is full of shadows and light, motifs that celebrate life but also symbolize death. His art is an ever evolving quest, an exploration of the unknown.

Born in 1934 in Arles in southern France, Lucien Clergue remained faithful to his homeland and the Mediterranean culture until the end of his life – they inspired and influenced his work decisively. The nude has a special significance in Clergues work. From the 1950s onwards, he repeatedly created nude photographs with an unmistakable signature. His »Zebra nudes«, in which he experimented with effects from stroboscopes, are as well-known as his early works »Nu de la mer«, in which women’s naked bodies blend into the seascape, like rocks washed by the surf.
Lucien Clergue is also known for his long friendship with Pablo Picasso and his close collaboration with Jean Cocteau. As the founder of one of the most important international festivals for photography, the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in his hometown Arles, he has done a lot to make works by photographers from all over the world known.
His photographic work has been exhibited in many of the world's major museums and published in numerous international publications. On the occasion of the first anniversary of his death in November 2015, the Grand Palais in Paris dedicated a comprehensive retrospective to him.


1934 born in Arles, FR
1948 gets a box camera donated by his mother, learns photography in self-study
1954 first encounter with Pablo Picasso
1969 founded the photography festival »Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie« in Arles, FR
2014 died in Nîmes, FR

Works (Selection)

Lucien Clergue, o.T. (23), n. d.
Lucien Clergue, o.T. (23), n. d.
Lucien Clergue, Nu zébré (New York 2013), 2013, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Lucien Clergue, Nu zébré (New York 2013), 2013, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Lucien Clergue, Nu zébré New York 2012, 1997, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Lucien Clergue, Nu zébré New York 2012, 1997, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Lucien Clergue, Nu de la mer, 1956, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Lucien Clergue, Nu de la mer, 1956, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Lucien Clergue, Nu de la mer, 1956, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Lucien Clergue, Nu de la mer, 1956, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Lucien Clergue, Picasso à la cigarette III, Cannes 1956, 1956 (printed 2006), © Picasso à la cigarette
Lucien Clergue, Picasso au bain de plages de Cannes, 1965, 1965 (printed 2005), © Picasso au bain de plages
Lucien Clergue, o.T. (31), 1955, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Solo exhibitions (selection)

2020 Lucien Clergue. The men and women of Lucien Clergue, Arles Les Rencontres de la Photographie, Atelier de Chaudronnerie, Arles, FR
2019 Clergue & Weston, Première expo, Premières oeuvres, La Croisière, Arles, FR
2018 Picasso mon ami, Château des Baux de Provence, Les Baux de Provence, FR
Lucien Clergue: Poète Photographe, Cercle Cité, Luxembourg, LU
2017 Twenty-seven meetings with Picasso, Museu Picasso, Barcelona, ES
2015 Retrospective, Grand Palais National Museum, Paris, FR
2013 Lucien Clergue. Des hommes et des femmes habillées de lumière, Galerie Clairefontaine, Luxembourg, LU
2012 Ichundichundich. Picasso im Fotoportrait, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, DE
2011 Ichundichundich. Picasso im Fotoportrait, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, DE
2010 Nude Visions. 150 Jahre Körperbilder in der Fotografie, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, DE
Lucien Clergue: Nus & autres sujets, Galerie Clairefontaine, Luxembourg, LU
Nude Visions. 150 Jahre Körperbilder in der Fotografie, Von der Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal, DE
2009 Lucien Clergue, Yann Arthus-Bertrand Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris, FR
Les Rencontres d’Arles 2009, Arles, FR
2008 Lucien Clergue – Eine Retrospektive, Kunsthaus Wien, Vienna, AT
Lucien Clergue: Magie und Mythos, Picasso Museum, Muenster, DE
Die Hände der Kunst, Marta Herford, Herford, DE
Lucien Clergue, Städtische Galerie Erlangen, Erlangen, DE
sehen ganz nah und sehr fern, Städtische Galerie Erlangen, Erlangen, DE
2007 Exposition de photographies, Galerie Aittouarès, Paris, FR
Art Protects, Yvon Lambert, Paris, FR
gezeichnet, Galerie Peter Borchardt, Hamburg, DE
2006 Lucien Clergue. Fifty Years of Photography, Louis Stern Fine Arts, West Hollywood
2005 Go Figure, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton
2004 Les Rencontres d’Arles 2004, Arles, FR
1999 Lucien Clergue, Kamera und Fotomuseum Leipzig, Leipzig, DE
1962 Pavillon de Marsan, Palais du Louvre, Paris, FR
1961 Museum of Modern Art, New York



BE Highlights 2020

BE Highlights 2020

  • Artists: Magdalena Abakanowicz, Aljoscha, Herbert Beck, Bertozzi & Casoni, Joachim Brohm, Marc Chagall, Kwang Young Chun, Lucien Clergue, Gehard Demetz, Piero Dorazio, Gerhard Hoehme, Anselm Kiefer, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Heinz Mack, August Macke, Fausto Melotti, Giorgio Morandi, Edvard Munch, Emil Nolde, Heribert C. Ottersbach, Pablo Picasso, Fabrizio Plessi, Rudolf Polanszky, Chris Reinecke, Gerhard Richter, Norbert Tadeusz, Manolo Valdés
    Editor: Michael Beck, Ute Eggeling
    Text: Aljoscha, Michael Beck, Jil Campisi, Ute Eggeling, Andrea Knop, Andrea Krause, Kirsten Nordahl, Katja Ott, Heribert C. Ottersbach, Sebastian Schemann, Miriam Walgate
    Design: Antonia Eggeling
  • English, German
    Softcover, 25 x 21 cm
    120 pages, 92 illustrations
  • Beck & Eggeling Kunstverlag, 2020
    ISBN 978-3-94606324-7
  • 20 €
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  • Artists: Rania Akl, Gerhard Altenbourg, Nikos Aslanidis, Roger Ballen, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Bertozzi & Casoni, Louise Bourgeois, Herbert Beck, Joachim Brohm, Jewgeni Chaldej, Lucien Clergue, Gehard Demetz, Lorenza Diaz, Joachim Elzmann, Katsura Funakoshi, Marianna Gartner, Wolf Hamm, Aspassio Haronitaki, Damien Hirst, Gerhard Hoehme, Leiko Ikemura, Monica Ursina Jäger, Lia Kazakou, Julia Kissina, Jürgen Klauke, Susanne Kühn, Daecheon Lee, Wolfe von Lenkiewicz, Robert Longo, Robert Lucander, Xavier Mascaró, Richard Mosse, Hartmut Neumann, Heribert C. Ottersbach, Chris Reinecke, Katharina Schilling, Norbert Schwontkowski, Valentina Seidel, Norbert Tadeusz, Sandra Vásquez de la Horra, Miriam Vlaming, Stefan à Wengen, Robert Wilson, Thomas Wrede
    Editor: Ute Eggeling, Michael Beck
    Text: Charles Baudelaire, Kirsten Nordahl
    Design: Beck & Eggeling (Antonia Eggeling, Martina Löhle)
  • German, English
    Softcover, 24 x 20 cm
    128 pages, 115 illustrations
  • Beck & Eggeling Kunstverlag, 2017
    ISBN 978-3-94606312-4
  • 20 €
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Further publications


Lucien Clergue
Giles Huxley-Parlour (Hg.),
Galerie Chris Beetles, London, 2012
Lucien Clergue. Curated by Christian Lacroix
Bernheimer Fine Art Photography, München 2009
Lucien Clergue. Sacre D´Eros et Thanatos
Ausstellungskatalog, Abbaye de Montmajour, 2009
Lucien Clergue. Magie und Mythos
Ausstellungskatalog, Kunsthaus Wien /
Graphikmuseum Pablo Picasso, Münster /
Städtische Galerie Erlangen, Wien 2007
Lucien Clergue. Roots.
The Gypsy Kings And Their Journey. A Photographic History
Onstage Presentation Inc, 2004


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