The Seventies and Eighjties were the two decades that artistic photography magazines were launched with great success. These magazines also functioned as a platform for the young, lesser known photographers who were featured with their latest works in these magazine. There was in the Netherlands a magazine called FOCUS , in France there was ZOOM , which later had also a German edition. These were all filled with photographs of the most famous of these young photographers. There were special issues with photographs by Andy Warhol, Helmut Newton, Araki, Jan Saudek and Lucien Clergue. All would rise to world fame with their photographs, but it is interesting to see that they used these magazines to grow their audience, making these magazines highly collectable items since they are the first two give some publicity space to, which are nowadays considered to be, the greatest photographers from the last century.
Here is a classic photographer who made his name with the Corrida, Picasso and the southern French nudes. There is a story on Clergue and myself. In the early Seventies there was a gallery in the Kazernestraat in Den Haag called Arta. In the gallery graphic art was sold to members at really affordable prices and i, as a young student, could afford me some graphic works by young artists who sold their works for as little as 20 guilders. A small sum to be paid for an original work of art by mainly dutch artist, but there were exceptions which were also on offer, some sets with multiple etchings and the occasional photograph…one of them an original photograph by Lucien Clergue. A nude in the sea, sand around her torso , no face…just a body….but such an impressive photograph i had to have it.
I took a loan with my parents and bought it and since , it has been in my collection. Later i learned the photograph came from one of the most famous series Lucien Clergue has ever made on THE SEA, shot in the Camargue in France in 1972 and resulting in one of the most iconic nude photo series any photographer has made . The photograph has now become for sale at FTN art. This is a classic Clergue photograph in a small edition , stamped ,signed and numbered by Lucien Clergue and in immaculate condition.
A few days ago i wrote about ARTA . A small gallery in Den Haag in which they sold editions by graphic artists. Immediately i remembered the Lucien Clergue photo i bought with them. At one time they had a small number of photographs from an edition by Lucien Clergue…. a naked woman … in the Mediterranean sea. A very beautiful body which attracted me, not only because it was one of the first nude photographs that was offered to me , but also because of its quality. At that time i even had no idea that photographs were printed in editions too, but looking at the back of the photo and seeing the stamp, signature and edition number i realized that this was the reason it was so affordable. It was one of the great purchases as a collector, because now these photographs are worth 200 times as much and are collected by photography collectors all over the world.
Lucien Clergue (1934-2014) proved to be one of the greats in photography from the last century and this sereis of naked women in the sea are among his best. . I still cherish this photo and even remember that i picked the perfect copy for my collection. There is no place for it anymore to hang it on the wall , so now and then i think about the selling it and maybe in the future i decide to do so.
SInce i am a full time antiquarian bookseller i regularly encounter Lucien Clergue publications and put them up for sale at www.ftn-books.com and on each such occasion i remember this beauty in the sea by Lucien Clergue.
There is a great selection of photographs still available at www.anneclergue.com, but the one i have in mycollection i did not encounter anywhere on the web.So this is to share it with you .
Artist/ Author: Oliver Boberg
Title : Memorial
Publisher: Oliver Boberg
Measurements: Frame measures 51 x 42 cm. original C print is 35 x 25 cm.
signed by Oliver Boberg in pen and numbered 14/20 from an edition of 20