Artist Highlight: Do you know Jean Cocteau?

Whitley’s first auction of the New Year, THE FIRED ARTS, happening on Saturday, January 19th at 10am EST, highlights rare and one of a kind works from many famed Artists who worked with kilns.  

“ If I put a ceramic in a kiln, I would be lost. But I have always taken great pleasure in being lost.”

One lot of note is by the famed French poet, writer, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker who is best known for his novel Les Enfants Terribles, and the films The Blood of a Poet, Les Parents Terribles, Beauty and the Beast and, Orpheus; Jean Cocteau. (1889-1963)

Lot 413, “ MASQUE D’EGYPTIEN”  is a large, partially-glazed earthenware charger plate. This plate is number 9 of an edition of 30 produced. It is also signed by the artist on the front, and marked on the verso “ Edition originale de Jean Cocteau- Atelier Madline-Jolly.

Literature references include the official catalogue raisonne: Jean Cocteau. Poteries, Céramiques, 1957-1963, catalogue raisonné. Annie Guedras. Published by Edouard Dermit, 1989.

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Jean Cocteau was known friends with, and collaborated with artists like Pablo Picasso and Amedeo Modgliani. When he began working in ceramics in 1957, he recalls that Picasso told him “ If I put a ceramic in a klim, I would be lost. But I have always taken great pleasure in being lost.” Cocteau said and wrote that he was “proud to have become an artisan-ceramist”. This was a great tribute to our craft. In this field, he has remained a brilliant designer admired by all, simply using other materials to express himself.

Some notable and famous visual artworks by Cocteau include:

  • 1924 : Dessins
  • 1925 : Le Mystère de Jean l’oiseleur
  • 1926 : Maison de santé
  • 1929 : 25 dessins d’un dormeur
  • 1935 : 60 designs for the film Les Enfants Terribles
  • 1941 : Drawings in the margins of Chevaliers de la Table ronde
  • 1948 : Drôle de ménage
  • 1957 : La Chapelle Saint-Pierre, Villefranche-sur-Mer
  • 1958 : La Salle des mariages, City Hall of MentonLa Chapelle Saint-Pierre (lithographies)
  • 1959 : Gondol des morts
  • 1960 : Chapelle Saint-Blaise-des-Simples, Milly-la-Forêt
  • 1960 : Stained glass windows of the Church of Saint Maximin, Metz, France

Make sure to visit our Fort Lauderdale area auction house located at 485 South Federal Highway in Dania Beach, Florida. The showroom and exhibition gallery is open Monday – Friday from 10am – 5pm.

Our exciting Royal Doulton Collectors Weekend will also be happening the weekend of January 18th – 20th. Click here to learn more. Or call us at 954.866.8044 to learn about works of art we have on view.