Property from a Distinguished Private Collection, Texas
Jouve prepared for his eleven-month journey in the Far East as an official artist for France, having won sponsorship from the Indo-Chinese governing body in 1921. He sailed from Marseille late summer, 1922. Heading for Port Saïd, he passed through the Suez Canal and, after several stops, reached Cochinchine, making his way first to Saigon, then by boat up the Mekong river to Phnom Penh. Jouve reached Angkor in October, where he marveled at the huge temples rising up from the jungle. He spent three months there, making this the longest single stop of his journey,
He made paintings of the elephants that bathed in front of the temple of Bayon at Angkor Thom, with its monumental towers, carved with four faces overtaken by vegetation, with its meditating monks and sacred dancing girls – that had been the subject of many sketches by Rodin when the two artists had visited the colonial exhibition in Marseille in 1906. Jouve had himself shown eight drawings and three sculptures in this exhibition. During his stay in Angkor, Jouve made countless notes and sketches that were to inform his later illustration of Le Pellerin d’Angkor by Pierre Lotti. This trip had a significant influence on his work through the years that followed.