Tag Archives: Jean Cocteau


“On February 6, 1954—not quite halfway through my twelve years with Douglas [Cooper]—I turned thirty. Douglas planned a birthday celebration that would also serve as a belated housewarming. But on February 5, the arctic chill that had paralysed much of Europe turned even fiercer, and for the first time in decades Castille was beautifully blanketed with a heavy fall of snow… We put the party off until Easter.

“On Easter Sunday… some of us went to the bullfight… In the course of the corrida, Picasso and Jacqueline [Roque] announced that they and the rest of their group—sixteen in all, including Picasso’s son, Paulo… and Jean Cocteau, plus entourage—would like to dine at Castille; he also announced that he had a present for us… an Ingresque drawing that had obsessed me ever since I first saw it pinned on a wall at Le Fournas: an uncompromisingly frontal image of a naked girl, legs wide apart, seated like an odalisque on a pile of cushions. It had been heavily worked. To create highlights and smudge shadows, Picasso used an eraser—a device he admitted borrowing from Matisse… I was surprised at his giving us something so personal until I realized that the gift must have been made at Jacqueline’s behest. She would have had every reason to want this erotic image removed from the studio wall: it represented one of her rivals, Geneviève Laporte. Characteristically, Picasso brought the drawing in the box that had contained the Dior wrap we had given Jacqueline for Christmas. No less characteristically, he kept the box; he liked to incorporate emballage in his work. As Picasso handed over the drawing, he said, presciently, ‘When you two split up, you’re going to have to cut it in half.’ After we broke up, Douglas simply kept it. Sadly, the drawing disappeared when Castille was burgled some years later. So far as I know, it’s still in the hands of the Mafia.” — John Richardson*

The writer, curator, collector, raconteur, art world insider, and great Picasso biographer John Richardson died in Manhattan this week. Volume IV of A Life of Picasso was nearly complete at the time of its author’s death, and should be published later this year.

*John Richardson, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Picasso, Provence, and Douglas Cooper (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999), 203–204.

Also see John Richardson, “Picasso: The Mediterranean Years,” in Picasso: The Mediterranean Years, 1945–1962 , exh. cat. (London: Gagosian Gallery/New York: Rizzoli, 2010), 11–45.

From top: John Richardson (left) and Pablo Picasso, photograph by André Villers (detail), courtesy Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and ADAGP, Paris; Andy Warhol, John Richardson, courtesy Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Richardson with Nan Kempner at the Met Gala, circa 1980, photograph by Patrick McMullan; Richardson (right) with Boaz Mazor, circa 1975, photograph by Bob Colacello.


Michel de Montaigne’s Essais from 1580, Marcel Proust’s Du côté de chez Swann from 1913, Oscar Wilde’s Salomé from 1893—inscribed by its author to his “cher ami” André Gide—and Gide’s Corydon (1911) and Nourritures terrestres (1897, inscribed to Paul Valéry) will be up for auction by Sotheby’s Paris as part of the fourth in a series of sales devoted to the library of Pierre Bergé.

Also included are first editions by Jean Cocteau and Jean Genet, letters from Édouard Manet to his friend Émile Zola, and the Chroniques de France by Monstrelet printed on vellum.



Friday, December 14, at 3 pm.

Hôtel Drouot, 9 rue Drouot, 9th, Paris.

Top: Oscar Wilde, Salomé, inscribed to André Gide.

Above: Page from Pompes funèbres by Jean Genet.

Below: André Gide, Corydon.


Image result for les parents terribles

The 70th anniversary 2K restoration of Jean Cocteau’s LES PARENTS TERRIBLES—with La belle et la bête stars Jean Marais and Josette Day—is screening in lower Manhattan for one more week.



QUAD CINEMA, 34 West 13th Street, New York City.


See: filmcomment.com/les-parents-terribles

Josette Day and Jean Marais (center) in Les parents terribles (1948).

Image result for les parents terribles





FINAL PORTRAIT—starring Geoffrey Rush as Alberto Giacometti and Armie Hammer as James Lord—recounts the friendship between the artist and his biographer.

Lord was a great intimate of Giacometti, Picasso, and Dora Maar. In addition to his Giacometti texts, Lord is the author of several memoirs recounting his times with Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Marie-Laure de Noailles, Jean Cocteau, Balthus, and Harold Acton. Lord’s last book was My Queer War, based on his experiences in the Second World War.

The film, directed by Stanley Tucci, co-stars Clémence Poésy, Sylvie Testud, and Tony Shalhoub as Diego Giacometti.

SXSW will host the North American premiere on Friday evening.


FINAL PORTRAIT, Friday, March 9, at 6 pm.

STATESIDE THEATRE, 719 Congress Avenue, Austin.



Opens March 23:

LAEMMLE ROYAL, 11523 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles.



Armie Hammer (left) and Geoffrey Rush in Final Portrait.

Final Portrait



Jean Cocteau has always been an artist whose work was central to the modern art movement of the twentieth century. More than any other artist of his time, he again and again addressed questions of art, immortality and the creative process…

Blood of a Poet, Orphée, and LA BELLE ET LA BÊTE are all extremely thoughtful and subtle reflections of the life of an artist… La Belle is the most openly allegorical in style. Presented as a simple fairy tale, it soon became clear that the film had taken on a broader and deeper subject: the very nature of the creative process…

“The chateau itself is then seen as the very site of the creative process where, through an extraordinary alchemy of the spirit, the ordinary world of imagination takes flight.” — Philip Glass*

This weekend, the L.A. Opera presents three performances of Glass’ remarkable transformation of Cocteau’s 1946 masterpiece, which jettisons the film’s original score and dialogue. Glass’ 1994 soundtrack will be performed by his ensemble, and sung onstage by Gregory Purnhagen (la Bête), Hai-Ting Chinn (Belle), Marie Mascari (Félicie, and Adélaïde) and Peter Stewart (le père, and Ludovic). Michael Riesman conducts.



Saturday, October 28, at 8 pm. Tickets include admission to Beastly Ball.

Sunday, October 29, at 2 pm.

Tuesday, October, 31, at 8 pm. Tickets include after-party and costume contest.

THEATRE AT ACE HOTEL, 929 South Broadway, downtown Los Angeles.



Tonight, join Philip Glass in performance and conversation at Whittier College.


AN EVENING WITH PHILIP GLASS, Thursday, October 26, at 7:30 pm.

WHITTIER COLLEGE, 13406 East Philadelphia Street, Whittier.


*See  artsmeme.com/2014/04/29/philip-glass-on-cocteaus-la-belle-et-la-bete

From top: Josette Day as Belle in La belle et la bête (1946); Marcel André, Belle’s father, visits the château; Jean Marais, as la Bête; Marais and Day.