Jean Cocteau (1889-1963)

Jean Marais and Jean Cocteau at 50, Cote d'Azur, 1939

An outspoken homosexual, Jean Cocteau was a prolific poet, novelist, critic, essayist, artist, and film maker. Born into a middle-class Parisian family on July 5, 1889, Cocteau was only ten years old when his father died. Although an indifferent scholar, the boy took from the prestigious Lycée Condorcet a haunting memory of a classmate, Pierre Dargelos, a "type of all that is not taught or learned or judged, of all that is not analyzed or punished . . . the first symbol of wild forces."

After Dargelos died, Cocteau ran away to Marseille, where he lived among sailors and prostitutes. The image of Dargelos "as the shameless, untutored faun" appears in The White Paper (1928), Cocteau's celebration of homosexuality in which some of his gay erotic drawings were first published, as well as in his journal Opium (1930), the novel Children of the Game (1929), and the film The Blood of the Poet (1931).

In 2003, two models Kyle and Morgan, who had once previously modeled for me together, agreed to reproduce for my camera the 11 Cocteau drawings shown here. This is the first showing of the photographs of this more playful than precise pastiche.

For more biographical details, go to the GLBTQ Encyclopedia by clicking HERE. Do click on that link for it's well worth the read.

Jean Cocteau died in Paris on October 11, 1963, the same day that his good friend Edith Piaf also died in Paris -- a day I shall never forget since I was a studying in Paris and it was my 22nd birthday.


Cocteau's erotic drawings are here reproduced from the © 1999 Evergreen Taschen Verlag edition.

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To view 100 of Jean Cocteau's orginal homo-erotic drawings, go to Classic Gay Archives.