Thursday, April 5, 2007
Jean Cocteau's erotic drawings for Le Livre Blanc (1930's). Cocteau produced eighteen explicit drawings in 1930 for the anonymously published erotic story Le livre blanc (the first edition appeared in 1928, copyrighted by Maurice Sachs and Jacques Bonjean in Paris). Pascal Pia, the author of a bibliography of the erotic collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, wrote that the editors received the book without its creator’s name or address and concluded that the book was published by Cocteau himself. True; the poet may have written Le livre blanc in 1927 in Chablis, where he was staying with Jean Desbordes. Cocteau's drawings have been described as "obscenely pious." They are established by quick, flowing lines, partially erotic and often sultry, featuring classical elements such as busts and centaurs. Erotic images were popular articles in France, where they were sold under the counter; people were extra careful about homosexual erotica. Cocteau described his first sexual experiences in Le livre blanc: his excitement upon seeing a naked peasant boy on horseback and two naked young gypsies on his father's estate. He also wrote about his father, in whom he recognized a homosexual inclination. Some scenes in Le livre blanc refer to Cocteau's love for Desbordes, others to the adventures of Maurice Sachs. Neither man was to survive World War II: Desbordes was tortured to death by the Gestapo, while Maurice Sachs played an enigmatic double role during the war, and subsequently disappeared.