new-york

Jean Cocteau

Wessel + O'Connor Fine Art

“The muses must be represented in attitudes of waiting,” wrote Jean Cocteau, whose compulsion to continue producing even in the absence of inspiration perhaps helps explain how the artistry of his writing and films coexisted with the repetitive, facile elegance of much of his work on paper. An example of one of his kitschier drawings might be a depiction of a fluidly limned classical head, embellished by stars and flourishes or accompanied by lines of poetry. Such works are utterly lacking in formal rigor, but as with the statue played by Lee Miller in Cocteau’s first film, Le Sang d’un Poète (The Blood of a Poet, 1930), their inert, dreamlike quality masks a potential to spring to life.

Along with a great number of Cocteau’s drawings, the recent exhibition presented photographs, film stills, lithographs, ceramics, and illustrated books, offering the chance to see the range of approaches

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