Lucien Clergue and Picasso, Cocteau, Saint-John Perse

Lucien Clergue's photography was intuitive right from the start and when he was hardly twenty.
15 December 2015
Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso, Luis Miguel Dominguín aux arènes, Arles, 1959, tirage moderne argentique, 39,5 × 49 cm.
He was encouraged by the opinions and decisive support of the masters of his choice – just after a bullfight, he went to show his work to Pablo Picasso who considered it favourably and advised him to meet Jean Cocteau. After this encounter in 1956, he developed an ongoing relationship with these two men who he met regularly in Arles, Paris, Mougins and Cannes and to whom he introduced Manitas de Plata. Picasso designed the covers of his first books and Jean Cocteau advised him on the titles of his works and wrote the texts that accompanied his photos. Cocteau asked Lucien Clergue to take part in the filming of Testament d’Orphée in the quarries of Baux-de-Provence. Jean-Maurice Rouquette told Lucien Clergue that the poem Amers (1957) written by Saint-John Perse reminded him of his photographs. Soon afterwards, a combination of circumstances led to the photographer meeting the poet-diplomat with whom he made friends and for whom he illustrated a reissue of the famous poem.

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