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date: 12 December 2019

Cocteau, (Clément Eugène) Jean (Maurice)locked

(b Maisons-Laffitte, July 5, 1889; d Milly-la-Forêt, Oct 11, 1963).
  • Philip Core

Extract

(Maurice)

(b Maisons-Laffitte, July 5, 1889; d Milly-la-Forêt, Oct 11, 1963).

French writer, film maker, draughtsman, painter, printmaker and stage designer. Self-taught and with an insatiable desire to experiment with a wide variety of media, Cocteau combined his activities as a writer and artist with the roles of catalyst, patron, socialite and man of the theatre. His production as a painter, draughtsman and printmaker is mostly regarded as tangential both to the development of French art from the 1920s to the 1950s and to his own creative activities. In general his art has been regarded as an elegant but slight and fundamentally decorative variation of elements from the work of Picasso, with whom he formed a lifelong friendship in 1915. The cult of personality surrounding him, which he did little to discourage, has continued to cloud assessment of his work as a serious artist. Nevertheless the correlations that he created among different media, through his poetry, highly imaginative films and influential work for the theatre, were essential in defining the experimental ambience and cross-fertilizations of art in Paris between the two World Wars....

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