Menton Celebrates Multi-Talented Artist, Jean Cocteau, with Brand-New Museum

Cet article a été publié dans FR2DAY en 2011 (this article was published in FR2DAY in 2011)

COCTEAU

It has been a long and rich love story between the city of Menton and poet, painter, film-maker and dramatist Jean Cocteau; a story that dates back to the 1950s when the artist was commissioned by the city to create a number of artworks, including the Salle des Mariages in the city hall. In recognition, the city adopted Cocteau as an honorary citizen. A few years later, the multi-talented artist designed his own museum in a small and abandoned fort, the “Bastion”, which he restored and decorated with mosaics and tapestries to house some of his own artworks. On the 6th of November, a new museum dedicated to the artist, the Jean Cocteau Museum – Séverin Wunderman Collection will open its doors in Menton’s old town.

Located in a striking building which evokes a labyrinth, the collection is made up of over 2,000 works, including 1,190 drawings, prints, paintings, ceramics, tapestries, jewellery, books and manuscripts by Cocteau himself. It also includes 172 photographs relating to Cocteau and 278 works by fellow artists such as PicassoModigliani and Di Chirico. Most of the collection was gathered by art lover, Séverin Wunderman, former owner of Swiss luxury watch brand Corum.

The goal of the museum is to present the different aspects ofJean Cocteau’s genius but also to show the man behind the myth. The works are therefore arranged based on seven specific themes that each corresponds to an important stage in the artist’s career: the topic “Blood of the Poet” for instance is connected with Cocteau’s most renowned literary works, such as “Les Enfants Terribles” and “La Machine Infernale“, while another one “Mysteries” features the poetry and films Cocteau created post-WWII, such as “La Belle et la Bête“.

Moreover, since Cocteau is considered to be one of the fathers of contemporary art, temporary exhibitions will highlight current contemporary artists. The first one to be honoured isBordeaux based artistJean Sabrier, who gives new perspectives to paintings through art history. This exhibition runs until 7th May 2012.

The space also includes an educational workshop areaintended for school groups, an appointment-only print roomfeaturing additional works from the collection, a documentation center, an indoor and outdoor café, and a gift shop.

This new museum, which is the largest collection in the world of works by Cocteau, is expected to draw 100,000 visitors a year. That should definitely be enough to put Menton on the cultural map, in a region that already is home to many great modern art museums.

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