About Jean Despujols
The Friends of the Algur Meadows Museum of Art at Centenary College commissioned six articles for a catalog to accompany a future visual art exhibition of The Art of Jean Despujols and the Peoples of Indo-china. In 1936, Jean Despujols documented the peoples and lands of Indochina through paintings and drawings before outside contact irreparably changed their culture. The catalog's importance rests on a) the aesthetic quality and exactness of Despujols' s full-color French Academic portraits (prior to the use of Kodachrome), coupled with actual period ethnic costumes that prove the artist's accuracy of representation, and b) scholars' access to the artist's travel journal that describes situations in which artworks were created, interactions between the colonial artist and colonized ethnic peoples, and the effect of this relationship on Despujols's artistic production. This depth of material required that scholars from a variety of fields author the following articles.
The scholars are:
- Dr. Panivong Norindr, Chair, Dept. of Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California
- Prof. Nora Taylor, Dept. of Art History, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
- Dale Carolyn Gluckman, former Head of the Dept. of Costumes and Textiles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- Dr. Michael Howard, Prof. of International Studies, Simon Fraser University, Canada
- Dr. Leedom Lefferts, Prof. Emeritus, Anthropology, Drew University
Below you will find links to the essays in .pdf format. Some files are large and may take a while to download, so be patient. Please cite these articles appropriately, and visit the Meadows Museum of Art or make an appointment to enjoy selections from the Despujols Indochina Collection in person.
by Dale Carolyn Gluckman
Jean Despujols’s Colonial Gaze: Aestheticizing French Indochina
by Panivong Norindr
Jean Despujols: a Colonial Painter in Indochina
by Dr. Nora A. Taylor
The Peoples of French Indochina
by Michael C. Howard
The Textiles and Dress of the Peoples of French Indochina
by Michael C. Howard
The Despujols Timeline
by Leedom Lefferts
Acknowledgements: This decade-long project involved scholars who were deeply interested authorities on Jean Despujols, his work, and the subjects of his work. The Friends wish to thank them, as well as Diane Dufilho, former director of the Meadows Museum of Art at Centenary College, who spearheaded this initiative. Thanks also to the museum staff, especially Neeta Kaji and Kathy Brodnax, for their tireless efforts. The project was also funded in part by a grant from the Shreveport Regional Arts Council. Thank you.