Christiane Mancini

Christiane Mancini

A cabinet card portrait of Christiane Mancini, who in 1908 had a brief affair with the young Jean Cocteau while she was studying at the Conservatoire in Paris.

According to one of Cocteau’s biographers: ‘The intensity of her love clearly frightened him and he rebuffed his new “companion” in a particularly cold, almost ruthless way, his cruelty a premonition of some of the verses of Baudelairean sadism he would later dedicated to her in his first collection of poetry’ (James S. Williams, Jean Cocteau. London: Reaktion, 2008).

The sitter has signed the portrait in ink across the lower right-hand corner of the print. The dedication reads: ‘à Carmen Sylva / sympathiquement / Christiane Mancini’.

‘Carmen Sylva’ was the pen name of Queen Elisabeth of Romania, whose literary output included poems, plays, novels, short stories, essays and aphorisms, which she wrote in German, Romanian, French and English.

Photographed by Reutlinger of Paris.


Code: 123828
© Paul Frecker 2023