Friday, January 19, 2007

Marianne of Cocteau

Something different for today. Yesterday I was discussing with some friends about definitive stamps from France. As you probably know, since years now, the French definitive stamp pictures Marianne, the female allegory of the republic. We were discussing which “Marianne” stamps we prefer. Mine is this one.

This is the one we call “Marianne de Cocteau” because it has been designed by Jean Cocteau (1888-1963), the famous French poet and artist. The stamp has been engraved by Albert Decaris. This Marianne has been issued in 1961 and sold until 1967. At this time it has disconcerted the critics because of its design which is very disruptive compared to the previous and following ones. This stamp was also a technical challenge because of its size and the fact that it is recess-printed with three colours. The design of this Marianne was reused in 1982 for a commemorative stamp celebrating Philex France 82 a philatelic exhibition.

I have always been interested and impressed by the work of Jean Cocteau. When I was young, I was highly impressed by his movies : The eternal return (1943), The beauty and the beast (1946), The eagle with two heads (1848) , Orpheus (1950)… I like his universe. I guess this is why I like his Marianne. I like it also because it is so different compared to the other ones that have a much more traditional design.


Adrian said...

Hi Eric,
I agree: beautiful stamp! It still stands out after all these years, whereas some other definitives like Sabine de Gandon and Liberté de Gandon look dated and almost boring now!
Would it not have been great if there had been a full series of this design!? But then again, maybe it's extra special because there is just the one value!
By the way, you mentioned three colours, but my catalogue only mentiones bleu and rouge, which is the third one?

And thanks for the tip regarding his films! Must check them out. Love French movies (just seen Le Boucher for the umpteenth time, fantastic!).


Eric said...

Hi Adrian

Of course you are right, there are only two colours (blue and red). May be I should not blog before my first coffee of the day ;-) ?
Something to add, this stamp has been printed on the TD-6 printing press, the 6 colours recess-printing press.

Adrian said...

And there are two types apparently, something to do with the number "2" I believe!