CLERGUE, Lucien. Toros Muertos. Stuttgart: Ernst Battenberg Verlag, [1962].-SIGNED



CLERGUE, Lucien.
Toros Muertos.
Stuttgart: Ernst Battenberg Verlag, [1962].

4to (263 × 267 mm), pp.[48]. Black-and-white photographs. Texts by Jean Cocteau and Jean-Marie Landau. Photo-illustrated endpapers. Black-and-white photo-illustrated paper-covered boards, text in red, white cloth spine lettered in red; a couple of signatures pulling at gutter but holding firm. Spine toned, light wear to boards and extremities. Publisher’s photo-illustrated paper-covered board slipcase, white cloth edges; light wear, light soiling to edges. Signed by Clergue in black ink on title-page and again on the front of the slipcase. Very good in a near-fine slipcase.

First edition, signed twice. Much of Lucien Clergue’s work revolves around themes of loss, death, and decay, most of it made in and around his native Arles and the surrounding Camargue region. He took these photographs between 1955-1962 at several arenas in the South of France: Nîmes, Arles, Lumel, Beaucaire, Méjanes, Châteauurenard, Marseille, and Le Gran du Roi.

‘The book’s design, bold and cinematic, is also extremely effective in both heightening the drama and maintaining a dynamic flow to the action. By repeating a series of close-ups, and showing us very little of the stadium, the crowd, or other players in the drama, Clergue keeps our attention on the bull’s plight, imparting a strong psychological sense to the drama. He emphasizes how primitive and elemental the whole business is - it is entirely about death, nothing less than ritual sacrifice, and by concentrating on the abbatoir elements, he does not let us forget that’ (Badger).

In 1969, together with author Michel Tournier and historian Jean-Maurice Rouquette, Lucien Clergue founded the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles photography festival. He was named a knight of the Légion d’honneur in 2003, and elected as a member of the Academy of Fine Arts of the Institute of France on the 31 May 2006, on the creation of a new section dedicated to photography, making him the first photographer to enter the Academy to a seat devoted to photography.

Parr, M. and Badger, G., The Photobook: A History vol.I p.219.


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