Jean Cocteau (July 5, 1889 — October 11, 1963) was a French artist, poet, novelist, playwright, designer, and film director. He wrote the the novel Les Enfants Terribles in 1929 and produced thousands of drawings, paintings, films and ceramic works. Above is the spectacular museum in Menton, France which was built by the city to house their collection of his paintings, drawings, and films. The idea for the museum came about when the art collector Severin Wunderman donated 1500 Cocteau works to Menton in 2005 with the condition that the town build a dedicated Cocteau museum. And what a museum Menton built. My Lonely Planet guide book says: "This futuristic, low-rise building is a wonderful space to make sense of Cocteau's eclectic work." When I read this glowing report, I reserved a day at the end of our 2016 Provence trip to visit Menton and the museum. It's only an hour's drive from Nice on an auto route high above the spectacular Mediterranean coast.
In case you think Cocteau's works are relegated to museums and dusty bookshelves, this Memorial day weekend's performance of Les Enfants Terrible in San Francisco will set you straight. Theatre Parallel performed a dance-opera spectacle of Cocteau's 1929 novel set to an operatic score by Phillip Glass, to honor his 80 birthday. It was quite a surreal experience
Cocteau's drawings and paintings are awe inspiring in their variety, and they unfold as you make your way around the museum.
In the collection was a striking painting by Cocteau's contemporary, Sonia Delauney.
Une Jolie Village, as our cab driver described Menton when I told him we had driven there the previous day. But it had been a Monday and the market across the street from the museum was closed, as was the three star restaurant in town, plus it's on the Italian border... So we'll have to return. I can't wait!