Jean Marais inscribed and dated 'Souvenir de Jean Cocteau et de l'Eternel Retour 1944' (lower third), pen and ink 29 x 22cm (11 7/16 x 8 11/16in).
EXHIBITED: Paris, Le Salon des Peintres du Spectacle, 1995 Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, 1989
After a less than outstanding school career, Jean Marais (1913-1998) worked as a photographer's assistant and golf caddy before making his acting debut in 1933. Four years later he met Cocteau, and went on to star in several of Cocteau's films, but it wasn't until he played the roles of Patrice in L'Eternel Retour (1943) and the Beast in La Belle et la Bête (1946) that he impacted on the public consciousness. Likened to a Gallic Errol Flynn with wavy blond hair, blue eyes and athletic physique, Marais was the ideal heroic figure. He enjoyed an intimate relationship over the years with Cocteau, (a brief marriage during the war to the actress Mila Parély lasted two years), and when Cocteau died in 1963, Marais was distraught, saying a large part of him died the same day. From the Second World War until his death in 1996 Marais was a screen regular, starring in many films, notably Cocteau's Orpheus (1950) and Le testament d'Orphée (1960). In 1996 he was awarded the Légion d'honneur for services to French Cinema.