Wednesday 6 January 2016

Picasso and Cocteau: Pioneers of Modernism


Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau: Pioneers of Modernism at the Theocharakis Foundation.

Jean Cocteau, (1889-1963), the French poet, artist and filmmaker, met Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) in June 1915. Within the year he was pressing Picasso to design sets for his revolutionary ballet, Parade. When the play was first staged, its impact was so ground-breaking that it caused a scandal. This was the beginning of a friendship that lasted 50 years. Cocteau marveled at the way Picasso replaced the human figure 'with a splendid metaphor of lines, masses and colours'.

Their prolific collaboration played a vital role in the Modernist movement. A common reference point in their mutually provocative work was the influence of the ancient Greek spirit and this is one of the aspects of their work that this exhibition explores. The exhibition comprises 190 paintings, sculpture, pottery, lithographs and drawings highlighting their contribution to the consolidation of Modernism.

(Apologies for some of the reflections from the overhead lights - I have posted the best, some of the photographs were ruined).

Jean Cocteau, Orphee

Jean Cocteau, the Death of Young Men of Divine Greece, 1930

Sketches by Alekos Fasianos in The Death of Young Men in Divine Greece, 2006

Jean Cocteau, Laurelled Orpheus, 1951 (oil on canvas)

Pablo Picasso, Tribute to Bacchus, 1960 (lithograph)

Jean Cocteau, Piper, 1963, (ceramic plate)

Jean Cocteau, Young Faun with Bunch of Grapes, 1959 (ceramic plate)

Jean Cocteau

Pablo Picasso, Figure in Striped Blouse, 1949 (lithograph)

Jean Cocteau, Face with Fish-eyes, 1958

Pablo Picasso, Dragging the Bull from the Arena, 1945 (lithograph)

Jean Cocteau, Blue Harlequin, 1953 (lithograph)

Pablo Picasso, Composed Figure II, 1949 (lithograph)

Pablo Picasso, Figure, 1948 (lithograph)

Pablo Picasso, Profile of Bearded Man, 1963 (lithograph)

Pablo Picasso, Double Portrait of Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau, 1962 (lithograph)

Pablo Picasso, Vallauris Poster, 1948 (lithograph)

Jean Cocteau, Self-portrait (Professional Secret), 1925 (Indian ink and pastels on paper)

Jean Cocteau, The Youth of Marcel Proust, 1959 (felt pen on paper)

Pablo Picasso, Jacqueline with Black Bandanna, 1958 (lithograph)

Jean Cocteau, Pablo Picasso 1916-1961

Pablo Picasso, Woman in an Armchair, 1948 (lithograph)

Woman in Armchair 1, 1949 (lithograph)

Woman in Armchair 4, 1948 (lithograph)

Woman in Armchair 2, 1948 (lithograph)

Jean Cocteau, Yul Brynner, 1961 (pencil on paper)


Pablo Picasso, Fauns and Goat, 1959 (colour linocut)



  1. Eirene, I knew that they worked together, but I had no idea that their work was so similar in some cases. The Face with Fish Eyes looks so like a Picasso lino print. Fascinating.
    I have always loved those Picasso lithographs: Woman in armchair.
    The exhibition looks so good with those coloured walls.

    1. Olga, it was a wonderful exhibition and I learnt a lot. My post does not do it justice - there was so much reflection from the overhead lights that I ended up using the photographs that were acceptable, and was not able to use some of my favourites. A shame, as this blog helps me remember what I have seen.

      Face with Fish-eyes: it dominated one of the three galleries and I saw it immediately as I entered and I thought it was by Picasso and was surprised to see that it was a Cocteau. The Woman in Armchair lithographs are beautiful indeed.

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