Purple Art

[May 4 2015]

Jean Cocteau exhibition at Galerie Michel Estades, Paris

A playful and mischievous collection of ceramics and drawings by Jean Cocteau has been brought together by Galerie Michel Estades to celebrate their upcoming anniversary. Dating from the late 1950s to the mid-‘70s, Cocteau’s works depict simple and straightforward line-drawings of coquettish young men with olive garlands, centaurs licking their surroundings and harpists gazing sensually into an unknown distance. The works, all of which were created towards the very end of Cocteau’s life, mobilise Greek mythology as a premise and a stylistic device, yet were allegedly inspired by the artist’s social group at the time—an impressive range of mid-century celebrities including Edith Piaf, Josephine Baker, Guillaume Appollinaire, and most famously, Picasso. The collection of portraits, both in drawing and ceramic, could thereby be read as a caricature of the artistic arsenal of mid-century France: a hedonistic environment, revolving around sensual pleasures, conviviality, creation and amusement.

Text and photo Sabrina Tarasoff

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