Saturday, December 13, 2014

Jean Cocteau Drawings

As a boy in my mid-teens I found myself in possession of an ex-library copy of Jean Cocteau's The White Book. I would like to think that by ex-library I mean a withdrawn surplus book but sadly I think I may have been a little less scrupulous in those days and its possible my fourteen year old fingers were light enough to remove it from the library's stock without giving them the option of deciding whether is was surplus. Both the texts and Cocteau's illustrations were among the most informative things a young man in search of his sexuality could have laid hands on and I kept that book for many years.

Consequently, I have something of a soft spot for Cocteau's drawings. His clearly distinctive style doesn't belie an extraordinary ability to draw. These I found recently in an old auction catalogue. The auction also included a copy of The White Book bound with a sketch and a finished original illustration for the book. But The White Book illustrations and a number of others with titles such as "Deux marins" and "Deux hommes nus" were clearly too much for the cataloguer and the bottommost image in this post shows how they were dealt with.

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