Lucien Clergue

Lucien Clergue

2005 Honoree: Outstanding Achievement in Fine Art Photography


Richard AvedonWhether it’s the way water caresses a female nude or the passionate intensity of a bullfight, Lucien Clergue immortalizes his images with grace and finesse. At 19, after a chance meeting with Pablo Picasso at a local bullfight, Clergue was thrust into the dynamic world of art and photography. As a fine art photographer, author, educator, and filmmaker, he has dazzled an international audience with his refined and beautiful images.

Born in Arles, France, Clergue’s surroundings provided ripe inspiration for his work, as they did for numerous other artists including Dante, Van Gogh, and Hemingway. The picturesque scenery has provoked some of his signature images including dancing Gypsies, matadors in the ring, lush landscapes, and female nudes in nature.

Emerging as an artist during the Cubist and Surrealist era, Clergue has attributed much of his influences to these movements. He adopted their perspective on multiple points of view and the element of chance in his work. Early on in his career, photographer Edward Weston inspired him to explore the art of nudes, which comprises the bulk of Clergue’s work. He has completely redefined the aesthetic of photographing the naked body.

Clergue has been presented with countless awards including the Legion of Honor by the Minister of Culture in Paris in December 2003, which is the highest distinction given to people who have performed extraordinary services to humanity.

After 20 films, including a nomination for an Academy Award, 75 books, including Poesie Photographique, Prestal Publishing 2003. Lucien Clergue: GrandsNus, 1999 published by UMSCHAU/Braus, and as founder and producer of the the largest Annual European photography festival, Les Recontres Internationales de la Photographie, Lucien Clergue continues to produce stunning and hypnotic images for the international community and is regarded as one of the most prolific photographers of the 21st century.