Paul Jacoulet (1896 - 1960)

Jacoulet was born in Paris in 1896, and raised in Tokyo from an early age. His father Frederic Jacoulet was a university professor hired by the Japanese government to teach French to young aristocrats. Jacoulet was fluent in Japanese language and social customs, and he studied a wide range of traditional arts.

Around 1931, Jacoulet began to work with Shizuya Fujikake learning the craft of woodblock printmaking. In 1933, he established the Jacoulet Institute of Prints and by the next year, he began publishing his own designs. With the exception of Jacoulet’s 1934 Rainbow Series published by the Kato Institute, all of his prints were self-published. Unlike many other shin hanga publishers, he gave credit to his carvers and printers by including their names in the margins of his prints. He was also known for having extreme standards for both carving and printing and would discard any prints whose impression was not excellent. In a 1946 article in TIME magazine, Jacoulet claimed to use the earlier imperfect impressions of his prints to paper the floor of his chicken house.

Jacoulet remained in Japan through World War II and continued to produce prints up until the time of his death in 1960. Although many of his prints were sold by subscription, he also sold a number of prints to American military officers stationed in Japan.

Jacoulet was a shameless self-promoter and sent prints to famous people to enhance his reputation. Mrs. Douglas MacArthur received an annual Christmas gift and his work hung in the General’s headquarters in Tokyo and later at the Waldorf-Astoria.

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