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Lucien Clergue (1934–2014) was a French photographer. Early in his career, Clergue took photographs of traveling entertainers, acrobats, and harlequins in the series titled The Saltimbanques in addition to many images of gypsies in southern France. Clergue’s imagery eventually developed three strong themes: female nudes, bullfighting, and Pablo Picasso and his circle. His close friendship with Picasso was a result of him showing his images to Picasso. Their friendship lasted nearly 30 years up until Picasso’s death in 1973. Clergue’s book Picasso My Friend (1993) retraces important moments in their relationship.


Clergue’s photographs have been exhibited in over one hundred solo exhibitions worldwide. The Fogg Museum at Harvard University and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston have become the major repositories for Clergue’s work. His photographs of Jean Cocteau are on permanent display at the Jean Cocteau Museum in Menton, France. Clergue, a co-founder of the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival, is the first photographer to be elected a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He has published more than seventy-five books and twenty short films.

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