Everything sparkled in the South Pacific — the plants, the birds, even the people. Color was intoxicating, each hue mesmerizing. No wonder French artist Paul Jacoulet loved it. He was in his 30s when he visited for the first time in March 1929, landing on Chuuk, an atoll in the Federated States of Micronesia, then under Japanese colonial administration. Immediately, he was hooked. He returned several times in the following years, hopping between Palau, Saipan and Yap, sketching and drawing, absorbing everything he could from the lush tropical surroundings. The memories never left him.

A successful artist during his lifetime, Jacoulet sank into obscurity after his death in 1960. Even today, his work remains poorly known. This is something author and curator Kenji Hinohara wants to change.

“Jacoulet had a unique vision, and he spared no effort to realize it,” he says. “He depicted men and women of all ages, from Japan, Korea, the South Pacific and beyond, in bright and vivid hues like no one else.”