Flashback : Paul Éluard

On November 18, 1952, upon the announcement of Paul Éluard’s death, Cocteau said : “Only one thing consoles me. Poets only pretend to die”. Thus, 70 years ago, the world lost one of its greatest poets, then 56 years old.

Born of the sufferings of the 1914-1918 war, his poetry successively took the paths of the Dada revolt and the Surrealist revolution, then that of the Resistance to the Nazi occupation, the poem Liberty making him famous. He is also considered as the great poet of the love expression.

First married to Gala, who later left him for Salvador Dalí, he was already a frequent visitor to Les Deux Magots, where he met the artists and writers André Gide, Fernand Léger and Jacques Prévert, who came to chat over a drink. This meeting place will also see him accompanied by Nusch, his second wife, model of Man Ray, who will die suddenly at the age of 40, leaving Éluard in an infinite despair.

Flashback : Paul Éluard

In 1935, at the Deux Magots, he introduced the photographer Dora Maar to Pablo Picasso. “She was wearing black gloves embroidered with small pink flowers. Later, she took them off and took a long, sharp knife and stuck it into the table between her spread fingers. From time to time she missed the mark by a fraction of a millimeter and her hand was covered with blood, will tell a fascinated Picasso.

At the Deux Magots, Paul Éluard has just reunited a mythical couple that will last ten years.

For more information:

Paul Éluard Museum of Art and History

22 bis rue Gabriel Péri, 93200 Saint-Denis


Photo credit: Paul Éluard © Getty Images, All rights reserved