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A Rare Western Woodblock Artist Explores Portraits

From 26 February 2013 to 19 May 2013

Paul Jacoulet in Japan

Paul Jacoulet may have been born in France, but this talented artist spent a large portion of his life in Japan. Born in 1902, Jacoulet moved to Japan during World War II. He later spent his adult life traveling to such Asian destinations as Korea, China and Micronesia, where he would go in order to create portraits of the inhabitants.

Jacoulet began his artistic life in 1939 and continued to create art until his death in 1960. His rare prints, which showcase his mastery of woodblock printing, usually depict the portraits or entire bodies of people, although some background elements can sometimes be seen.

Now, Jacoulet's designs can be appreciated by visitors of the Musée du Quai Branly, which is organizing an exhibition dedicated to the French artist's work. Through his designs, printed on woodblock, the artist explored the private lives, aesthetics and ethnography present within various Asian cultures.

By combining the traditional Japanese ukiyo-e form of art with his own methods, Jacoulet created a style all his own. The Musée du Quai Branly will be displaying 160 of the artist's works. The works were donated to the museum in 2011 by Jacoulet's daughter as well as several other inheritors.