Lucien Clergue and the first nudes

Lucien Clergue and the nudes...
12 January 2016
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Lucien Clergue, Née de la vague, Camargue,1966, tirage moderne argentique ; 60 x 50 cm © Atelier Lucien Clergue
The medium close-shots, taken on the beaches and in the waves of Camargue, show the bodies of well-rounded women surging out of the waves with infinite joy and vitality. Such freshness had never been portrayed in photographs of nude women before. By keeping the faces out of the picture, Lucien Clergue gives a universal dimension to these bodies.
Scarcely one year after its invention, the art of photography sought recognition and for many this involved adopting the style used in drawings and female nudes were still often rather academic. Lucien Clergue's nudes clearly broke away from the prevailing style. These nudes were an instant success, partly due to the books of poems by Paul Éluard and Saint-John Perse that he illustrated and partly due to the mid-twentieth century sexual liberation. The Née de la Vague series gained notoriety even outside the world of photography and became both famous and popular.


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