Clergue, Footprints of the Gods.

Clergue, Lucien.

Footprints of the Gods. With a Foreword by Lucien Clergue: “Twelve Years at Point Lobos” / With an Essay by Jim Hughes titled: “Sign of Life and Death”.

First US Edition. Boca Raton [Florida], Iris Publications, 1989. Small Folio (23 cm x 30.5 cm). 96 pages with spectacular photographs on 55 color plates throughout. Original softcover. This colour-photographic treatise is devoted entirely to the topography of Point Lobos, California, the beach made famous by Edward Weston, decades earlier. With an introduction by Jim Hughes. A very good copy in publisher’s illustrated wrappers. Spine slightly starting. Inscribed and signed by Lucien Clergue to the great American gallerist, Leo Castelli: “Pour Leo Castelli, son admirateur arlesien, avec l’hommage de Lucien Clergue – Arles, I/VII/89”. A wonderful association, additionally enriched by an artist-postcard of Lucien Clergue’s “Point Lobos” – Photograph, with a personal message to Leo Castelli by someone called “Ames” (?).

This excellent book was published in conjunction with an international touring exhibition, sponsored by the Eastman Kodak Company, to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, and to honor its founder, Lucien Clergue. The exhibition premiered as the featured exhibit at the Rencontres in Arles, France, on July 3, 1989.

Lucien Clergue writes in his printed dedication of the book:

″To the memory of Robert Louis Stevenson who dreamed of Point Lobos as Treasure Island; To Edward Weston, who, while immortalizing Point Lobos, gave me the key of my life in photography; To Wynn Bullock, my guide through the rocks of Edward Weston; To Virginia and Ansel Adams, godmother and godfather of my Point Lobos adventure; and To the students of my workshops, who have always encouraged me to keep on going – Lucien Clergue″

At the beginning of the photographic section in this publication awaits the hommage to Lucien Clergue by Saint-John Perse:

″Lucien Clergue, who looks for destiny’s face under the most faithful masks of this world”

Several of the photographs are accompanied by verses from poets, like Michel Leiris, Ovid, Bachelard etc.:

Piere-Jean Jouve:

″One night when the sea penetrates the countries of the mountain / One night when one is younger than in youth….″

Lucien Clergue (August 14, 1934 – November 15, 2014) was a French photographer. He was Chairman of the Academy of Fine Arts, Paris for 2013. Lucien Clergue was born in Arles, France. At the age of 7 he began learning to play the violin, and after several years of study his teacher admitted that he had nothing more to teach him. Clergue was from a family of shopkeepers and could not afford to pursue further studies in a college or university school of music, such as a conservatory.

In 1949, he learned the basics of photography. Four years later, at a corrida in Arles, he showed his photographs to Spanish painter Pablo Picasso who, though subdued, asked to see more of his work. Within a year and a half, young Clergue worked on his photography with the goal of sending more images to Picasso. During this period, he worked on a series of photographs of travelling entertainers, acrobats and harlequins, the « Saltimbanques ». He also worked on a series whose subject was carrion.

On November 4, 1955, Lucien Clergue visited Picasso in Cannes, France. Their friendship lasted nearly 30 years until Picasso’s death. Clergue’s autobiographical book, Picasso My Friend, looks back on important moments of their relationship.

In 1968, and with his friend Michel Tournier, Clergue founded the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival which is held annually in July in Arles. He exhibited his work at the festival during the years 1971–1973, 1975, 1979, 1982–1986, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 2000, 2003 and 2007. Clergue also illustrated books, among them a book by writer Yves Navarre.

Clergue took many photographs of the gypsies of southern France, and was instrumental in propelling the guitarist Manitas de Plata to fame. Clergue’s photographs are in the collections of numerous well-known museums and private collectors. His photographs have been exhibited in over 100 solo exhibitions worldwide, with noted exhibitions such as in 1961, at the Museum of Modern Art New York, the last exhibition organized by Edward Steichen with Lucien Clergue, Bill Brandt and Yasuhiro Ishimoto. Museums with large collections of his work include The Fogg Museum at Harvard University and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His work, Fontaines du Grand Palais (Fountains of the Grand Palais), is in Museo cantonale d’arte [de] of Lugano. His photographs of Jean Cocteau are on permanent display at the Jean Cocteau Museum in Menton, France. In the U.S., an exhibition of the Cocteau photographs was premiered at Westwood Gallery, New York City.

In 2007, the city of Arles honored Lucien Clergue and dedicated a retrospective collection of 360 of his photographs dating from 1953 to 2007. He also received the 2007 Lucie Award. Lucien Clergue was married to the art curator Yolande Clergue, founder of The Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles. He was the father of two daughters: Anne Clergue, a curator of contemporary art who has worked at Leo Castelli Gallery, and Olivia Clergue, a handbag fashion designer whose godfather was Pablo Picasso. (Wikipedia)


Leo Castelli (born Leo Krausz; September 4, 1907 – August 21, 1999) was an Italian-American art dealer.

His gallery showcased contemporary art for five decades. Among the movements which Castelli showed were Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Neo-Dada, Pop Art, Op Art, Color field painting, Hard-edge painting, Lyrical Abstraction, Minimal Art, Conceptual Art, and Neo-expressionism. (Wikipedia)

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Lucien Clergue / Leo Castelli – Footprints of the Gods.
Lucien Clergue / Leo Castelli – Footprints of the Gods.
Lucien Clergue / Leo Castelli – Footprints of the Gods.
Lucien Clergue / Leo Castelli – Footprints of the Gods.
Lucien Clergue / Leo Castelli – Footprints of the Gods.
Lucien Clergue / Leo Castelli – Footprints of the Gods.
Lucien Clergue / Leo Castelli – Footprints of the Gods.