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Jean Cocteau, born on July 5, 1889, in Maisons-Laffitte and died on October 11, 1963, in his house in Milly-la-Forêt, is an emblematic figure of the French cultural scene of the 20th century. As a poet, graphic artist, illustrator, playwright, and filmmaker, Cocteau was a versatile artist whose work had a profound impact on various artistic fields. In 1955, he was elected to the French Academy, the ultimate recognition of his influence in French culture.

From a young age, Cocteau showed an interest in arts and literature. His career truly began with the publication of his first volume of poetry, "La Lampe d'Aladin," in 1909. This marked the start of a long and fruitful career in which he explored various forms of artistic expression.

Cocteau was at the heart of Parisian artistic and literary circles. He formed friendships with major artists and writers such as Picasso, Proust, Apollinaire, and Stravinsky, influencing and being influenced by these key figures of modern art. He was also an active member of avant-garde groups like the Surrealists, although he sometimes disagreed with their principles.

In the 1920s, Cocteau ventured into theater and cinema. His plays, such as "Les Parents terribles," and his films, including "Beauty and the Beast" and "Orpheus," are considered classic works. His avant-garde approach, merging poetry, theater, and cinema, helped to redefine these arts in the 20th century.

As a filmmaker, Cocteau used his poetic talents to create cinematic works that were both symbolic and avant-garde. His films are known for their dreamlike aesthetic and deep exploration of themes such as love, death, and metamorphosis, often reflecting his own struggles and inner questions.

Cocteau was also an accomplished visual artist. His often surrealist drawings demonstrate his boundless imagination and his ability to capture the fantastic and the mythological. As a graphic artist, he worked on several projects, including posters and theater sets.

His personal life was as colorful and complex as his work. Actor Jean Marais, one of his muses, acted in several of his plays and films.

Despite his fragile health and opium dependencies, Cocteau continued to create until the end of his life. He leaves behind a lasting legacy as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, whose work continues to inspire artists and art lovers around the world.

Jean Cocteau passed away on October 11, 1963, at the age of 74.

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Two galleries in Paris

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