Jean Cocteau (France, 1889 – 1963)
The Boccara Gallery is pleased to present “Young Man With Lyre” (Jeune Homme à la Lyre), a tapestry from Jean Cocteau’s cartoon.
Jean Cocteau is a French poet, playwright, critic, painter, designer, decorator, graphic designer, ceramicist, choreographer and filmmaker from the Parisian bourgeoisie. From childhood, he was inspired by his grandfather’s musical receptions and storytelling readings by his governess Joséphine. At the age of 9, he discovered the world of the circus, illusion and trompe l’oeil. From the age of sixteen, he frequented artistic circles in Paris (Marcel Proust, the Daudets, the Rostands, the Countess of Noailles) and in Europe (Édith Wharton, Princess Bibesco, Ezra Pound). The young dandy then joined the artistic avant-garde of Montparnasse and worked with his many friends, Picasso, Modigliani, Max Jacob, Apollinaire, Érik Satie, Blaise Cendrars, Aragon, Tzara or even André Gide (known as “Androgyde”!), in all forms of artistic expression. Elected to the French Academy in 1955 and one of the artists who marked the 20th century, he rubbed shoulders with most of those who animated the artistic life of his time. He was the impresario of his time, the trendsetter, the good genius of countless artists. Despite his literary works and artistic talents, Jean Cocteau always insisted that he was above all a poet and that all work is poetic.
Cocteau claims: “There is nothing more noble than a tapestry. It is our language translated into another, richer, with precision and with love. It is a melodious work of harpist. We should see them, our harpists, playing on the threads at full speed, turning their backs on the model, going to consult him, returning to play their music of silence. We are astonished that such a luxury exists in our time when comfort replaces it. One day with Picasso at the Opera, we noticed that mediocre works took on grace and style, translated into this language. But when the original text and the translation are balanced, then we marvel at our craftsmanship in France ”.
“The woolen poems of Jean Cocteau”, so were called his tapestries and this title testifies to his admiration for the art of weaving. Raymond Picaud will weave the first tapestries starting from the cartoons designed by Cocteau at the Aubusson factory in the workshop he runs. In the end, in addition to a precious and prolific, intriguing and sometimes irritating work, this esthete touches everything, hated by André Breton, green-eyed by André Gide, gifted and narcissistic creator, with the varied palette of talents, leaves a protean work, completed by a private diary: the Definite Past (1951-1963).