Rainbow Colors: The Woodblock Prints of Paul Jacoulet

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Jeune Fille de Saipan et Fleurs d’Hibiscus. Marianes, 1934 Full Color Woodblock Print © Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard W. Child, Pacific Asia Museum Collection
Rainbow Colors: The Woodblock Prints of Paul Jacoulet
Curated by: Motoko Shimizu

46 North Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena , CA 91101
December 6th, 2007 - March 30th, 2008

626-449-2742 ext 10
Wed-Sun 10-6


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