Edouard Dermit signed and dated 'Jean Cocteau/1961' (lower right), crayon and pastel 26 x 20cm (10 1/4 x 7 7/8in).
EXHIBITED: Paris, Le Salon des Peintres du Spectacle, 1995 Baden-Baden, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden, 1989
Cocteau and Jean Marais moved to Milly-le Foret in early 1947, and had soon employed a handsome young man, Edouard Dermit (1925-1995) as gardener. With a toned physique and wavy blonde hair, Cocteau soon saw him as a perfect actor for some of his finest films: Les Enfants Terribles (1949), Orphee (1950) and Le Testamant d'Orphee (1959). Although unaccustomed to the world of cinematography, with Cocteau's help, his natural charm and strong personality gave him the self-confidence to act alongside some of the biggest names of the day. A natural painter (see lots 89 and 96) whose talents were honed by Cocteau, Dermit was the ideal choice to be Cocteau's literary executor on his death in 1963. In 1950 Cocteau had started the process of officially adopting Dermit, but on his death the process was still incomplete.