h—1953–1954 Four still lifes—Jean Charlot

Four still lifes, image h

Four still lifes. Jean Charlot. 1953–1954. Fresco. Two center panels of Japanese and Hawaiian foods; October 1953; each approximately 8 ft wide × 3 ft high. Two outer panels of milk and lichee, and American juicer with coffeemaker; March 20–27, 1954; each approximately 5 ft wide × 3 ft high. College Inn, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. (JCC: ART: MU 25)

"Art with your supper". The Hawaii Weekly. November 29, 1953. Page 13.

Art with your supper. Photos by Masao Miyamoto.

Ever since 1945 Mr. and Mrs. Shigenaga have been operating the College Inn, popular eating rendezvous for University of Hawaii students. The place used to be just a tiny place at the corner of University Ave. and Dole St., and it was always crowded.

"It got so there wasn't enough room for us and the customers," Mrs. Shigenaga says. "We just had to do something about it."

Expansion was started early this year and was completed in time for the rush of students in September. The regular customers were surprised and delighted by the spacious surroundings, and particularly impressed by two fresco paintings on the Diamond Head wall. They should have been. The murals were done by the most celebrated practitioner of that ancient art in the United States, Jean Charlot.

Mr. Charlot, who has four children with adolescent appetites, used to take his family to the College Inn to eat. He soon became friends with the Shigenagas, who had always admired the huge Charlot frescoes in the University administartion building and the Bishop National Bank branch in Waikiki. When the painter suggested doing two panels for the new restaurant, the Shigenagas were thrilled.

The frescoes, recently finished, are two still lifes in the typically subtle Charlot colors, and they are enough to stimulate the most laggard taste buds. One is a composition of ginger, taro root, zucchini, Chinese cabbage, watermelon, red snapper and squid. A Japanese lacquer bowl, obviously full of a savory miso soup, completes the picture. The colors are soft shades of brown, green, pink, purple and off white.

The second fresco shows green bananas, purple banana flower, taro leaves and a beautifully-painted pheasant with the rocky headland of Diamond Head and a small triangle of blue sea in the background.

The pictures are a conversation piece at the College Inn.

More in:
Four still lifes (1953–1954), College Inn
Mentioned in article:
Relation of Man and Nature in Old Hawaiʻi (1949), University administration building
Early Contacts of Hawaii with Outer World (1951–1952), Bishop National Bank
Shown in article photos or referenced in captions:
Woman Lifting Rebozo (1949)
Commencement (1953), University administration building

Contact, copyright, credit
Jean Charlot & The Jean Charlot Foundation