A Traveler's Impressions of Asia: The Woodblock Prints of Paul Jacoulet

  • Exhib_slideshow_exhibition_jacoulet_26449

    Paul Jacoulet (1896–1960). 'Jeune fille de Saipan et fleur d'hibiscus. (Young Girl of Saipan with a Hibiscus Flower), Japan, 1934. Woodblock print; ink and color on paper. Gift of Dr. Aziz A. Khan, 1998 (26449)

February 04, 2016 - April 03, 2016
Honolulu Museum of Art

Exhibition Overview

Though born in Paris, Paul Jacoulet (1896–1960) spent most of his life in Japan, where he became one of the few Western artists to gain international recognition in the field of Japanese woodblock printmaking. His work, distinguished by its elaborate technical features, such as the application of metallic powder (mica) and pigments derived from semi-precious stones, was highly valued and collected by various celebrities, including General Douglas MacArthur (1880–1964) and Queen Elizabeth II (b. 1926). 

Beginning in 1929, to escape the cold winters of his home, Jacoulet frequented the South Seas, as the French post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin (1848–1903) had done decades earlier. Documenting his travels through Micronesia, Indonesia, and the Philippines in sketches and photographs, the artist later developed these images into stunning woodblock prints.

In conjunction with the Celebrate Micronesia Festival on March 19, a day of art-making demonstrations, food, performances, and films, Honolulu Museum of Art presents prints that detail Jacoulet’s travels through the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), particularly the state of Yap on the western side of the archipelago. In addition to their profound art historical importance, these works offer unique insight into the traditional dress and customs of Micronesia’s indigenous population and have sparked a revival of interest in Micronesian culture.

Special thanks to Dr. Don Rubinstein, professor of anthropology and public health at the University of Guam, for contributing the labels in this print rotation.