Jean Cocteau (Primary Title)

Man Ray, American, 1890 - 1976 (Artist)

Works On Paper
Gelatin silver print
Image: 10 15/16 × 7 7/8 in. (27.78 × 20 cm)

Jean Cocteau (1889–1963) was one of the great cultural figures of the 20th century. Man Ray made numerous portraits of Cocteau, whom he later described as having a “scintillating personality” like a “sparkling dragonfly,” but none more striking than this 1925 photograph of the creative polymath in an elegant suit and tie. Cocteau holds a wooden cane with a distinctive derby handle and looks to the side with slightly downcast eyes. Man Ray’s portraits so impressed Cocteau that he recommended his photographic work to his circle of friends from the worlds of ballet, fashion, music, and theater, as well as wealthy patrons and members of the aristocracy, many of whom visited the American artist’s studio to have their own portraits made.

Possible signature of Jean Cocteau (the sitter of the portrait) in graphite on print verso: "Cocteau".
White-out in upper left corner of verso.
Inscribed in graphite (possibly by the sitter of the portrait- Jean Cocteau) on print verso: "Cocteau". Inscribed in graphite on print verso: "28x20".
Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Endowment
Man Ray: The Paris Years, VMFA, October 30, 2021 – February 21, 2022

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.