Prestige des hôtels signed 'Jean' (lower right) and inscribed 'Projet pour Le Grand Ecart' (verso) pen, black ink and crayon on paper 33.5 x 26cm (13 3/16 x 10 1/4in). Executed circa 1925-1926
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.
This work was drawn in preparation for the illustrated edition of Cocteau's novel Le Grand Ecart, published by Librarie Stock, Paris, in 1926. First published in 1923, Le Grand Ecart was Cocteau's first novel, distinguished by the author from Thomas l'Imposteur, published the same month, which he described simply as a 'story'. Both books, and indeed Cocteau's later illustrations to them, reflect a classicizing tendency and a rejection of the extreme avant-garde current following the First World War. This movement towards a 'return to order', seen most obviously with artists such as Picasso and Derain, came to be so-named after Cocteau's 1926 collection of essays Le Rappel à l'Ordre.