Image description

Jean Cocteau - Portrait of Hermann Dietz

Jean Cocteau Hermann Dietz

Original Ink and Pencil on paper,  circa 1906/7, signed with the monogram lower right “JC”  (An unusual annotation which the artist used) Annotated on the right above: “N/vous a pas script not’ papa Monsieur Bertrand! …. On nous (illegible)…. a Bertrand…. On vous lache!….. Triste!…. Triste!…., annotated upper left.

Size:  305 x 185 mms

Note: This accomplished drawing was made whilst the artist was only about 16 years of age. Cocteau had been unsuccessful as a student failing his Bacalauriat. He was sent to Val-Andre, a Breton seaside resort, to the home of Hermann Dietz, a teacher at the Lyceee Buffon, who gave remedial courses to students. “He surprised us by the contrast between his Protestantism and his odalisque poses”, worse Cocteau, “He would stretch himself out , slither about, knot himself up and unknot himself, sending an arm here, a leg there”.  Dietz was not successful in enthusing the bright student in his studies - Cocteau preferred tennis, paddling in the sea, working on his poems or sketching out his theatrical work. Cocteau’s first novel “Le Grand Ecart” , written in 1923, featured a “Monsieur Berlin” whose persona was modelled on Herman Dietz.

Authentification: A certificate from the Jean Cocteau expert, Annie Guedras,  dated 15th May 2002, Archive number 4123, comes with this item. 

Exhibitions: 

Aix-en-Provence, Galerie d’Art di Conseil Générale des Bouches-du-Rhone, “Autour de Cocteau” April-June 2005 (Reproduced in the catalogue)

Evian, Palasis Lumiere “Jean Cocteau: Sur le pas d’un magician” February/May 2010