The art of Paul Thévenaz, 1891–1921


This portrait of Jean Cocteau by Swiss artist Paul Thévenaz isn’t included in the artist’s memorial book, Paul Thévenaz, A Record of His Life and Art (1922) which was published after Thévenaz died suddenly at the age of 30. Everything else in this post is, however, and there’s more in the book itself which shows Thévenaz ranging through society portraits (and self-portraits), designs for the theatre (I’ve included a Salomé below), murals and sketches.

Thévenaz is another candidate for the pantheon of lost gay artists although the work in the book isn’t especially homoerotic. There are fauns, however, which might be connected to his romantic association with poet Witter Brynner. The latter’s A Canticle of Pan was written in 1918, and is one of the many manifestations of the horned god in the literature of the period. As for Thévenaz, I like his drawing style a great deal; in places it resembles Wyndham Lewis in its sweeping curves and stylisations. (Thanks to Callum for the tip!)




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