Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau was born in 1889 in Maisons-Lafitte, France, and was raised primarily in Paris. Cocteau ranks among the 20th century’s most diversely talented artists, enjoying success as an accomplished poet, film-maker, novelist and illustrator. 


Cocteau rose to great renown as a writer with the 1919 publication of Le Potomak, a collection of prose, verse and humorous drawings. As a typical renaissance man, at the same time as working on his writings, ballets, plays and films, he also worked on many paintings, drawings, prints, tapestries and programme notes for avant-garde composers. 


Jean Cocteau’s works reflect the influence of surrealism, psychoanalysis, cubism and Catholic religion; occasionally they were opium influenced. In his time Cocteau was a promoter of avant-garde styles and fashions. His friends included such prominent figures as Pablo Picasso, the composer Erik Satie, the writer Marcel Proust and the Russian director Serge Diaghilev. 


In 1955 he was installed in the Académie française, and died in Milly-la-Forêt in October 1963, at the age of 74.