The model for this was Jean Cocteau - Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau to give him his full name, and perhaps not surprising that a man with so many names should also have quite so many talents: one for each. As a writer he is best known for Les Enfants Terribles, but he was also a designer, a playwright, an artist, and a filmmaker - Blood of a Poet, Les Parents Terribles, Beauty and the Beast and Orpheus. My fantasy is of turning up at his Paris apartment one evening, uninvited obviously, needing some feeble excuse like I must have written down the wrong address for the person I was really visiting, and then apologise, but ask if I can use the washroom; and then get a moment inside to see who his visitors were that evening. Picasso more than likely, but the actor Yul Brynner was a regular, as was Marlene Dietrich, Coco Chanel, Erik Satie, Igor Stravinsky, Édith Piaf, Colette, Genet...
I had several versions of this portrait at one time, each one a variant of the other fantasy, that I could somehow capture the entirety of his enigmatic prolificity and genius in a single, unified painting; with solid blocks of colour like here, and washes, and crayon lines, and even one with a physical paintbrush and acrylics from a tube. In this version I was also trying to imitate a style, but can’t now remember which – Max Jacob possibly; something of the era of Picasso anyway. Standard canvas.
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