Portrait of Gilbert Becaud signed, inscribed and dated 'Jean Cocteau/*/Noel/1954' (lower left), pencil 48.5 x 35.5cm (19 1/8 x 14in).
PROVENANCE: Andre Bernard
EXHIBITED: Paris, Le Salon des Peintres du Spectacle, 1995.
Born in Toulon and having fought in the French Resistance during World War II, Gilbert Bécaud (1927-2001) moved to Paris with his family and found work as a pianist and song writer. It was only in the early 1950's, having been prompted by Edith Piaf (see lot 6) who he had met in the US, that Bécaud started to sing professionally, the start of a career that went on to include around 450 songs, including the 1961 hit What Now My Love, that went on to be recorded by the likes of Shirley Bassey, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, and Let It Be Me, which was covered by Bob Dylan, Nina Simone and James Brown. Known as 'Monsieur 100,000 volts' due to his energetic style, Bécaud's career continued without respite until 1999, one of his last swan-songs being a celebrated return to the Olympic music hall in Paris for the 33rd time.