Largest Collection of Jean Cocteau Ceramics Ever to be Offered at Auction at Bonhams

In the 130th Anniversary year of Jean Cocteau's birth, an important collection of 46 ceramics by the leading figure of the French avant-garde, will highlight Bonhams Prints and Multiples sale on Wednesday 11 December and Thursday 12 December in London. It is the first time such a large collection of Cocteau ceramics has been offered at auction.

Born in 1889, Jean Cocteau was a painter, ceramicist, poet, writer and filmmaker whose wide-ranging career spanned more than 50 years. Growing up in Paris, he became a leading figure of the avant-garde befriending many of the great French art figures of the period, including painters Pablo Picasso and Amedeo Modigliani, writer Guillaume Apollinaire and poet Raymond Radiguet among others.

He produced his first ceramics in 1957, when he met Marie Madeleine Jolly and Philippe Madeline. In their studio in Villefranche-sur-Mer, up until his death in 1963, Cocteau created more than 300 pieces, holding his first exhibition of ceramic works in Paris in 1958.

True to his style of drawing, Cocteau created pieces with clean and graphic lines. He found inspiration in his work from classical mythology and legends as seen in the collection offered at Bonhams:

Grand Chêvre – partially glazed earthenware vase
Conceived in 1958 and executed in an edition of 20.
Estimate: £15,000-20,000.

Le Théâtre Antique, white earthenware plate with coloured engobe
Conceived in 1958 and executed in an edition of 40.
Estimate: £4,000-6,000.

Quatre-Profils, partially glazed earthenware plate
Conceived in 1958. An artist's example aside from the edition of 30.
Estimate: £4,000-6,000.

Printemps, white earthenware vase-urn.
Conceived in 1958. An artist's example aside from the edition of 15.
Estimate: £5,000-7,000.

Bonhams department director of Prints and Multiples, Lucia Tro Santafe, said "Jean Cocteau is one of the most multitalented artists of the 20th century. This is the largest collection of Cocteau Ceramic works ever offered at auction and because his ceramics were only produced in very small editions, these pieces are very special."

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