We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


L'Etoile de Gobi, Mongole



Paul Jacoulet

France, Japan

1896 – 1960

  • Details

    Alternative title
    Star of Gobi, Mongolia
    Place where the work was made
    Shōwa period 1926 - 1988 → Japan
    Media category
    Materials used
    colour woodcut
    39.5 x 30.0 cm image; 48.0 x 36.0 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed l.l., pencil "Paul Jacoulet "[and artist's seal]. Not dated.

    Purchased 1992
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Estate of Paul Jacoulet/ADAGP. Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Paul Jacoulet

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Paul Jacoulet holds a unique position in the world of international graphic art. Born as the only son of French parents, Jacoulet was taken to Japan in 1899 (the year of his birth is being disputed) as a small child, and remained in the country throughout the turbulent years of the Great Kanto Earthquake (1923), the depression (late 1920s) and the war (1937-45). He also travelled extensively, from his native France to Korea and the South Pacific islands under Japanese occupation.

    After the Great Kanto Earthquake, Jacoulet began concentrating on painting with financial support from his mother in Korea. He painted initially in the style of the traditional Japanese ukiyo-e. In the 1930s, Jacoulet decided to turn his works into prints. At the time, there were two streams of printmaking in Japan: the Creative Print Movement (which insisted that artist drew, blockcut and printed his own work) and the New Print Movement (the artist had his designs blockcut and printed by skilled professionals). Although he kept distance from the Japanese art circles, Jacoulet, a deep admirer of ukiyo-e prints, decided to take the approach adopted by the New Print artists. He initially employed Yamagishi Kazue, a skilled professional blockcutter and printer who is also a print artist in his own right (the Gallery has one of his works in the collection). Eventually Jacoulet and Yamagishi parted when the latter began to undermine the artist's control over the production of the print. He engaged other skilled professionals for his later prints.

    Jacoulet's style is neither Western nor Japanese: it is hybrid. His subjects are 'exotic people' of Japan, Korea, China and the South Seas. While an 'Orientalist gaze' is apparent in the treatment of his subjects of what Miles calls 'disappearing people', one can observe his strong sympathy withthem. Furthermore, his 'Orientalism' is not the sentiment unique to the West, either. It can be comfortably placed in the modern Japanese context. Some Japanese painters contemporary to Jacoulet, notably Kawabata Ryûshi, share the same 'gaze' in the treatment of the islanders.

    The model for this Mongolian princess was a Chinese girl living in Seoul, Korea.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Correspondence, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 10 Sep 2022–2024

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 3 publications

  • Provenance

    David Ho, pre Jun 1992, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, offered for sale through Tim Goodman auctions, 31 May 1992. Purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, June 1992.

Other works by Paul Jacoulet