USC Pacific Asia Museum

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Rainbow Colors:
The Woodblock Prints of Paul Jacoulet

December 6, 2007 - March 30, 2008

Jeune Fille de Saipan et Fleurs d?Hibiscus. Marianes
Jeune Fille de Saipan et Fleurs d’Hibiscus. Marianes. (Young Woman of Saipan with
Hibiscus Flowers. Marianas.)
, Japan, 1934, Full-color woodblock print, Gift of Mr.
and Mrs. Richard W. Child, USC Pacific Asia Museum Collection, 1983.42.1,
Photo by Julian Bermudez

Detail, Les Jades. Chinoise
Detail, Les Jades. Chinoise (Jade Lady. Chinese) Japan, 1940 Full-color woodblock print, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard W. Child, USC Pacific Asia Museum Collection, 1981.117.32, Photo by Julian Bermudez

Woodblock print artist Paul Jacoulet was born in Paris in 1896, transplanted to Tokyo at the age of three, and remained in Japan until his death in 1960. During his lifetime he created 166 prints, in collaboration with the last generation of carvers and printers trained in traditional ukiyo-e.

Educated in Japanese schools, Jacoulet was fluent in the language of his adopted culture and fully assimilated to its prevailing ideologies. Yet his work does not fit comfortably into any of the movements in the history of modern Japanese prints. Nor can they be grouped with woodblock prints made by foreign artists working in Japan in the early 20th century, often permeated with orientalist ideals. Jacoulet’s prints belong in a world apart, unmistakable in their brilliant coloration, strong narrative quality and an unsettling feeling of “otherness.”

The selected works in this gallery are grouped geographically by subject, beginning with Japan, China, Korea and ending with the Micronesian islands. They offer testimony to the fascinating hybridity of Jacoulet’s work, slipping past borders of time, place, gender and ethnicity, and together presenting his kaleidoscopic vision of a Pacific Asia.

Motoko Shimizu, Exhibition Curator


Related Events

Kendall Brown, Ph.D.
Kendall Brown, Ph.D.
  • Sunday, March 2, 1pm
    Lecture: Dr. Kendall Brown on “Paul Jacoulet’s Third Space”
    Raised as a Frenchman in Japan, Paul Jacoulet’s life negotiated identities of Oriental and Occidental. In his most compelling work, Jacoulet transcends conventional oppositions – east and west, masculine and feminine, modern and traditional – to create an art that explores a kind of cultural “third space.” Free with admission, call ext. 31 to RSVP.