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Jean Charlot Collection at the University of Hawaii Library

Charlot was a prolific artist and writer who created works in a variety of mediums and languages. This guide is an overview of what can be found in the collection.

Reading Room display wall

Examples of Charlot's paintings, circa 1928-1963, from Mexico, Hawaii and Fiji


Fiji sketch of man by Jean Charlot, 1962

From Charlot's Fiji sketchbook, 1962

Commercial process work

Elizabeth Arden, cosmetic design by Jean Charlot, circa 1920

Master set of Prints

Jean Charlot examining various states of the same lithograph. Photo by W.L. Bowers, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 1948

Jean Charlot created over 700 prints throughout his career. The comprehensive reference is Jean Charlot Prints: A Catalogue Raisonne by Peter Morse. Together with murals, prints represent the artist's dedication to creating art for the people. The Jean Charlot Collection includes his master set of prints, proofs and progressives, as well as some preliminary drawings, original blocks, plates, and even a lithograph stone. It is an incredible teaching collection with examples of complex color lithographs showing Charlot's mastery of color, woodcuts, intaglio, and serigraphs. Charlot also collected prints, amassing a large group of works by José Guadalupe Posada, Honoré Daumier, Images d'Epinal and other Mexican muralists.


Charlot's 100+ sketchbooks came to the collection with the founding gift. They are a rich resource, connecting his themes across the various mediums he worked in. They depict people he met, such as Sergei Eisenstein, models for his murals, and renderings of costumes and places. By comparing the year of a print, painting or mural, preliminary related work can usually be found in the sketchbooks.


There are many drawings and watercolors in the collection, ranging from Charlot's earliest works from France (early 1900s), to Mexico (1920s), to New York (1930s), and across the United States to Hawaii (1949-1979). Examples of carefully executed portraits such as Diego Rivera, Tina Modotti, and Xavier Guerrero, as well as watercolors documenting events show his facility in capturing the likeness of people and places.


Over 1300 paintings are recorded with thumbnail sketches and an inventory with titles, dimensions, dates, exhibition location(s) and the owner, if the painting sold. The publication of a paintings catalog was never realized, but there are a few representative examples of Charlot's easel paintings gracing the walls of the Jean Charlot Collection reading room. His paintings are broadly distributed in museum and private collections, including locally at the Honolulu Museum of Art and the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts' Art in Public Places Program (their premier exhibition venue is at the Hawaii State Art Museum). The collection contains photographs of many paintings, as well as installation photographs, files and catalogs of past exhibitions. This spreadsheet in pdf format was created from Charlot's typed painting "checklist" in the Collection:


Charlot pursued mural projects throughout his career, producing over 70 murals and monumental sculptures in public and private collections from Mexico, across the continental United States, several in Hawaii and one in Fiji. There are fresco mural fragments in the collection for study as well as a portable fresco which is displayed at the entrance to the reading room. The collection includes many original full-scale cartoon drawings of the murals. You can see all of Charlot's major extant public art pieces in an online StoryMap. All of Charlot's documentary photographs of the murals and sculptures, in progress as well as at the time of completion, are available for research along with individual project files.

Process Work

Just as with Charlot's other art, he kept an extensive record of his process work. Creative output ranges from Catholic themed cartoons printed in Sheed and Ward's Own Trumpet (1945-1969), cartoons for Commonweal (beginning in 1938), book covers and illustrations, and even commercial designs for Elizabeth Arden cosmetic packaging in France, circa 1920.


Don Poncho woodcut portrait by Charlot

Don Poncho, by Jean Charlot, 1922



Anita Brenner, by Jean Charlot, 1925

Portable fresco mural

Kahuna with Sacred Stone, fresco by Charlot

Kahuna with Sacred Stone, by Jean Charlot