Jean Cocteau (French, 1889-1963) Naissance de Vénus
Lot 11AR
Jean Cocteau (French, 1889-1963) La Naissance de Vénus
Sold for £10,625 (US$ 16,506) inc. premium

Lot Details
Jean Cocteau (French, 1889-1963)
La Naissance de Vénus
signed and dated 'Jean/L'oiseleur/1925' (upper right) and inscribed 'Naissance de Vénus' (lower left)
pen, black ink and crayon on paper
26.8 x 20.8cm (10 9/16 x 8 3/16in).
Executed in 1925

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    The artist's estate.
    Purchased from the above by the present owner.

    The authenticity of this work has kindly been confirmed by Madame Annie Guédras.

    The present work was drawn in 1925, during Cocteau's first course of treatment for his opium addiction at the Clinique des Thermes Urbains, 15, rue de Chateaubriand, Paris. Some of these drawings, notably the present work, specifically address the effects of taking opium, in this case a splintering into multiple personalities.

    In June 1925, following the successful completion of his treatment, Cocteau presented an exhibition of related drawings at the Galerie Briant-Robert, some of which were published with the title Maison de Santé (Convalescent Home).

    Cocteau was introduced to opium by Diaghilev, Auric and Poulenc in Monte Carlo in early 1924, in an attempt to give him solace following the death of his close friend Raymond Radiguet the preceding December. Although he undertook several courses of detoxification he continued to view the influence of opium very favourably, relishing particularly the dream-like state it induced and the beneficial effects it had on his creativity. This 'relationship' was memorialised when he published Opium in 1930, illustrated with forty drawings and three collages.

    Cocteau signed a number of these drawings with his pseudonym 'Jean L'Oiseleur', which he had first used in 1924 in his series of self-portraits Les Mystères de Jean l'Oiseleur. He was attracted to the conceit of the poet as bird-catcher ('oiseleur'), since he saw birds, like poems, as messengers from the unknown.
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