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Ohio Northern University’s Stambaugh Gallery opens season with prints by Paul Jacoulet

ImageAugust—The Ohio Northern University gallery program opens its 2012–13 art exhibition and gallery season at the Stambaugh Studio Theatre Gallery with a show entitled “The Prints of Paul Jacoulet.” The exhibit runs September 3 through December 14.

The pieces on display during the exhibition are representative of a collection of Asian art given to Ohio Northern by Col. Elmer E. Welty, LLB ’27, Hon.D. ’82, and his wife, Lyla. The Welty Collection includes more than 500 pieces of carvings, porcelains, sculpture, furniture and prints. Representative items from the 19th century, Ch’ing Dynasty, Meji period, plus numerous Kutani and Imari China pieces make this an outstanding and diverse collection of academic and cultural use by Ohio Northern.

Col. Welty studied law at Ohio Northern from 1924–26 and then attended the Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth, Kan. He continued his education with special studies in Far Eastern affairs at Yale University. The Weltys lived in Asia for 30 years, and this print exhibit features acquisitions of Jacoulet’s work made during that period. Later, Col. Welty formed the firm of Welty, Shimeal and Tokotori, specializing in international law and patents. He was presented with an ONU Alumni Award in 1979 recognizing his career accomplishments and reflection on Ohio Northern. In 1982, Col Welty received an honorary doctor of laws from ONU. He donated his entire Asian collection in 1991 to Ohio Northern.

This exhibition features the work of the French artist Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960) who lived in Japan most of his life. During a span of 26 years, he produced 166 masterfully printed color woodcuts inspired by his travels to Japan, Korea, China, Mongolia and numerous islands of the South Pacific. His inventive compositions reveal a synthesis of traditional Japanese printing techniques with modern European aesthetics and are examples of superb craftsmanship. Each print involved as many as 300 pressings of handmade paper against as many as sixty carved cherry wood blocks.

As a young boy, Jacoulet moved to Tokyo where his father taught French at the School of Foreign Languages. Jacoulet’s formal education in Japan was supplemented by private instruction in languages, calligraphy, painting and music. Following an early career as an interpreter for the French embassy in Tokyo, he decided to devote himself exclusively to his art. During his extensive travels, he filled his sketchbooks with drawings and also painted hundreds of watercolors. In the execution of his prints, Jacoulet collaborated with master carvers and skillful young printers, personally supervising the pulling of each print. He often credited their significant role by stamping their names along the margins of his prints.

Jacoulet’s woodcuts evoke the themes and methods of the traditional Japanese woodblock print genre known as ukiyo-e. Dating back to the 17th century, ukiyo-e prints typically featured theater performers, beautiful courtesans, landscapes and scenes from history and everyday life. Jacoulet is often associated with the Shin Hanga ("New Prints") movement that sought to revitalize this tradition by introducing Western realism and new subject matter. Jacoulet further invigorated the ukiyo-e tradition through his experimentation with elaborate new techniques and innovative materials. For example, he used precious metals and natural pigments in devising new shadings as well as colored mica, powdered semi-precious stones and small embossing blocks for added texture.

Admission to the Elzay and Stambaugh galleries is free and open to the public, daily from noon to 5 p.m. while school is in session. The Stambaugh Studio Theatre Gallery is also open prior to events held at Ohio Northern’s Freed Center for the Performing Arts.

Operated by the department of art & design, the University’s exhibition program serves as a vital means for engaging the Ohio Northern community and the Northwest Central Ohio region in the visual arts. The gallery season is designed to serve as an educational and cultural resource, to host national and international touring exhibitions, and to host original exhibits distinctly suited to an academic environment.

Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized as one of the best creative programs nationwide in the second edition of “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers.” For additional information about the department of art & design or the University’s 2012–13 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.

image: “The Pearls. Manchuria,” woodblock