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Nightmare (Cauchemar)

A work made of graphite with smudging on ivory wove paper.
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

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  • A work made of graphite with smudging on ivory wove paper.

Date:

c. 1924

Artist:

Jean Cocteau
French, 1889-1963

About this artwork

Cocteau is best known for his work as a writer and film director. He received his earliest notoriety for the 1917 ballet, Parade, that he produced for Diaghilev, with choreography by Leonide Massine, sets by Pablo Picasso, and music by Erik Satie. It was for this work that Guillaume Apollinaire, writing critically, coined the prophetic term "surreal." Cocteau saw himself as the invisible man who made the invisible world visible. Nightmare is clearly an image drawn from the subconscious, a condition that was exaggerated by Cocteau’s addiction to opium, a drug he began using to abate his depression after the death in 1923 of his protege, the young novelist Raymond Radiguet. In Nightmare the dismembered hand and its exaggerated size bespeak the effect of opium on a keen and alert intellect in agony. The artist described these violently expressive drawings as "screams of suffering in slow motion."

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Prints and Drawings

Artist

Jean Cocteau

Title

Nightmare (Cauchemar)

Origin

France

Date

1919–1929

Medium

Graphite with smudging on ivory wove paper

Dimensions

237 × 269 mm

Credit Line

Frank B. Hubachek and Mary Reynolds Funds; Frank B. Hubachek Endowment

Reference Number

1996.4

Copyright

© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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