To coincide with the exhibition ‘Picasso and the Spanish Masters’ at the Carrières de Lumières, Culturespaces invites visitors to discover Picasso through a photography exhibition at the Castle of Les Baux-de-Provence.
The photographs by Lucien Clergue, exhibited outdoors, were taken between 1953, when he met Pablo Picasso, and 1973, the year of the artist’s death. They attest to the intimacy and artistic connection that existed between the two men over the two prolific and inspired decades.
An outdoor photography exhibition
When the young photographer, Lucien Clergue, met Picasso in Arles, the old Spanish master was already at the height of his fame. Thus began a friendship that lasted twenty years and which only ended with Picasso’s death.
Picasso, a spiritual father
Back in 1953 Lucien Clergue was only nineteen and Picasso was old enough to be his grandfather. He would become much more than that—a spiritual father. Over the two decades spanned by their friendship, both men regularly saw one another and each time Picasso saw his friend’s work he would remark that Clergue's ‘photographs are from God's own sketchbooks’. This well-intentioned curiosity, which developed into collaboration—Picasso drew several book covers for the photographer—, was a great inspiration for Clergue to pursue his work throughout these years.
The exhibited images attest to their encounters, particularly with Jean Cocteau, their shared love of bullfighting, their fascination with travelling performers and harlequins, and the role played by war and death in their works.
‘These images recount the last twenty years of his life and twenty years of my own life. He was fifty-three years older than me, a world apart, and yet it was nothing! He had a way of making you feel at ease!’ Lucien Clergue
Picture: Lucien Clergue, "Picasso à la plage, Cannes, 1955", Atelier Clergue, SAIF, 2018