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Jean Cocteau (French 1889-1963)

Cocteau was a French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker. Cocteau is best known for his novel Les Enfants Terribles (1929) and the films Blood of a Poet (1930), Les Parents Terribles (1948), Beauty and the Beast (1946) and Orpheus (1949). His circle of associates, friends and lovers included Jean Marais, Guillaume Apollinaire, Pablo Picasso, Marlene Dietrich, Coco Chanel, Erik Satie, Edith Piaf, Marcel Proust and Vaslav Nijinsky.
Cocteau can be considered a Surrealist, although he himself tried to avoid this label. His life-long conflict with André Breton is well documented. Cocteau's work was controversial at the time, and his private life, centred on his openly gay love affairs and his opium addiction considered scandalous. Cocteau is remembered as a free spirit whose groundbreaking work made him a valued representative of the Ecole de Paris.