Jean Cocteau, 1889-1963
L'Harlequin au Miroir. Harlequin with a Mirror.
Coloured chalks and pencil over lithograph line in black ink. 1955. Signed in pencil and dated 1955. A unique work with extensive hand-drawing by Cocteau. No edition in this form. Very rare. Excellent fresh coloured chalks over black line lithography. On pale cream smooth wove paper.
Excellent condition. Full (?) margins. Sheet: 17 3/4 x 13 ins. Image approx: 13 1/2 x 9 3/4ins 343x248mm).
An exceptional mixed-media work. The basis of the drawing (the outline) is in lithography in black ink. The image has then been completed - with the patterns on the Pierrot's costume and on the image in the mirror etc.- with coloured chalks and pencil. The work is unique; there was no edition with the colours. It is signed and dated 1955. The tragicomic figure of the 'Pierrot' is an important symbol in Cocteau's work. As with Picasso it symbolises the role of the artist in society, part public figure part concealed inner person. The quality of melancholy, allied to a stylish exterior, apparent in this composition shows the poetic side of Cocteau's inspiration. He was an artist with a great multiplicity of talents and worked at the centre of so many of the art movements of the early 20th century in Paris,- he was painter, draughtsman and sculptor, dramatist and screenplay writer, novelist and critic. He was also a poet writing his first works in 1908. There remained a strong element of 'the poetic' in much of his work, and especially in many of his drawings and paintings.
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