Jean Cocteau - Etude pour la décoration de la chapelle Notre Dame de Jerusalem de Frejus


Category Jean Cocteau Tags drawings

Pencil on paper, 1963, signed and dated below right with initials

Size: 42 x 33 cms (Paper size)

Note: In 1962 Jean Cocteau was commissioned by a banker, Louis Martinon, to design a work for the chapel of Notre Dame de Jerusalem at Frejus. The artist was assisted by the architect, Jean Triquenot, painter Raymond Moretti and ceramist Roger Pelissier. The foundation stone was laid on the 24th February 1963 but the unexpected death of the Cocteau interrupted the work. Cocteau’s adopted son, Edouard Dermit using the sketches made by Cocteau realised the frescoes in charcoal and colour pencils.

The frescoes of the chapel revolve around the theme of the passion of Christ. At the Last Supper Cocteau gave the 12 Apostles his own face and the faces of his friends and relatives. The Chapel was acquired by the City of Frejus in 1989 and became a Museum after its restoration soon afterwards.

Cocteau made several sketches for this commission and ours was not the final prototype used for the finished work. On her certificate Madame Guedras illustrates the actual design used. Our drawing shows two Roman soldiers at the crucifixion with hammer and nails. They have been playing dice for the robe of Christ and these can be seen on the ground. Madame Guedras observes that the date on our drawing appears to be 1961 but, in reality, is clumsily written and should be 1963 which was the date of the commission.

Authentication: A certificate from the Jean Cocteau expert, Annie Guedras, is dated 26th September 2020 and numbered 6231 in her archives. This is provided to the buyer of the work. On an additional sheet Madame Guedras illustrates the work actually used in the commission.


1) The artist’s estate

2) Succesion of Monsieur Dermit, the adopted son of Jean Cocteau.

3) La Galerie 83, France