Lucien Clergue. The Poet With The Camera
The KunstHausWien presents a retrospective with more than 200 works by French photographer Lucien Clergue. These masterpieces are exhibited in Austria for the first time.His friend Pablo Picasso, who acknowledged the value and artistic quality of Lucien Clergue's work at a very early stage, compared his nudes with the works of the famous painters Renoir, Manet and Velázquez in the 1950s. Jean Cocteau described Clergue as the "poet with the camera".
Lucien Clergue's roots remain in his birthplace Arles in the South of
France, where he still lives and works; his homeland and the
Mediterranean culture have inspired his artistic work from the very
beginning. The photographer always has insisted on his artistic freedom.
Even when he was 20 years old, he turned down tempting offers and assignments from media like Vogue, Paris Match and others. He has renounced popularity, star-status and money from the beginning, in order to maintain his artistic independence and individuality.
Lucien Clergue's photographs have a permanent artistic validity and represent an important work of contemporary photographic art. He is a pioneer, an individualist, a versatile artist, who goes his own way unswervingly and who, in his photographs, tells us about love, life, transience and death, commenting these focal topics in his photographic work and adding his personal vision and interpretation. Lucien Clergue creates "images of reality" not submitting to any passing fashion, and whose contents are the existential topics – the conditions of humanity, the relation between nature and man.
In May 2006 Lucien Clergue, already acknowledged with many awards, was elected member of the French Academie des Beaux-Arts as the first photographer.