1958, first exhibition

Transcription of a radio recording

“I feel that Jean Cocteau had made life difficult for you...

MMJ (Marie-Madeleine Jolly) : “Yes... Mr. Cocteau brought us engravings ... and we had great difficulties since those substances were not adapted to our usual technic...”

Did you have to carry out research ?

MMJ : “We have done lots of research, Mr Cocteau helped us a lot, his advice and opinions were invaluable...”

Philippe Madeline, what are the main research you have been compelled to do in order to achieve such a diversity, not only in the clay but also in the colours ? It goes, indeed, from white paste to pure clay through enamels ...

PM (Philippe Madeline) : “Mister Cocteau uses clay a lot, he is resolved to leave as much visible clay as possible and he expressed this idea very well by saying that he wanted enamel to be like a tatoo on the skin... and the red colour of the clay... we use these red and pink colours a lot in our regions... reminds him of the colour of the skin and he tries to tatoo it with drawings, which are magnificient... so this confronted us with the difficulties of creating clay that could fit... we managed to obtain clay grains that remind paper textures as well...”

And on the other hand, you have to consider... the line ?

PM : “That was the big problem! The thickness of the stroke, its purity… this is Marie-Madeleine Jolly we owe this to…”

Can you explain us how you proceed once Jean Cocteau has given you a drawing or a print...?

MMJ : “Well Mister Jean Cocteau comes and we make them together, which means that he supervises the work and actually he lends a hand most of the time…”

How long did the work take to make all these pieces of pottery ?

Jean Cocteau : “I don't remember... but... here... indeed you need a close collaboration, I would say that you need the fire of friendship and the love of fire…”

Extracts of "Point de vue images du monde" N° 531 - 15th of August 1958

Jean Cocteau 's holliday homework: THE CERAMIC

The academy will not manage to make Jean Cocteau old, thank God!
Jean Cocteau who adds a new string to the Apollon' blow, a new "violon d'Ingres"(1) to his collection. Just one year after the decoration of the Chapel of Villefranche, he gets down to ceramics, also in Villefranche. Group work. After having drawn in pencil, in pastels, with chalk, the patterns born out of his always alert imagination, Jean Cocteau executes the items he will decorate with his friends Mr and Mrs Madeline. And it is on vases, dishes, poteries that we can see samples in the chapel of Villefranche, fantastic plants of which the flowers are eyes, lyric women, harlequins, angels, mysthic characters, magical characters in which we can find the poetical genie of the father from "Enfants terribles". To prepare himself to the private viewing of his exhibition, Jean Cocteau takes a walk in the middle of small boats. He goes to the anniversary mass of the inauguration of the chapel he decorated.

(1) Hobby

Christian Toussaint Reporter

At Santo-Sospir Villa

“At the peak of Cap-Ferrat, Jean Cocteau decorated the Santo Sospir villa with tapestries, using subtle colours compositions. That’s where he drew faces which adorn his potteries and about which he told us: I draw instinctively, if I think I’m lost.”