Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau
Portrait of Jean Marais
Graphite on paper.
10 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches (267 x 209 mm)
The Joseph F. McCrindle Collection.
© Jean Cocteau / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Inscribed in graphite at lower right, "duj"; inscribed on verso at upper left, in graphite,"E2"; inscribed on verso at lower right, in graphite, "60"

Cocteau estate; private collection; sale, London, Sotheby's, 25 May 1977, lot 204; Brian Sewell, London (b. 1931); from whom acquired by Joseph F. McCrindle, New York, July 1979 (McCrindle collection no. A0279).

Watermark: ". . .B-THE PERFECT PAPER-V. . ."
In a letter dated 12 May 2010, Annie Guédras identified the sitter as Jean Cocteau's close friend, the actor Jean Marais (1913-1998). Marais was one of the most celebrated actors of French cinema in the 1940s until 1970 when his roles became more seldom. Marais' most famous role was arguably in the Cocteau directed film "Beauty and the Beast" (1946). A related drawing was sold in the same lot (no. 24) at Sotheby's London, 25 May 1977, and it is currently in a private collection. Guédras suggested a date of 1943 for the McCrindle Collection drawing. Throughout his career, Cocteau made many portraits of his friends. These sketches were typically executed in brush and brown ink or in graphite as in this example. Cocteau's friendship portraits were often made in profile, with a sparse use of line creating a whimsical effect.

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