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Paul Jacoulet

Paul Jacoulet (1896-1960):

Born in Paris in 1896, Paul Jacoulet showed a precocious artistic talent at a young age. As a youth his family moved to Japan where Paul began his studies as an artist at age eleven under Seiki Kuroda and Takeji Fujishima. He spoke fluent Japanese, French and English and mastered the violin and the Japanese samisen. He was also an avid butterfly collector with a collection totaling 300,000 species at the time of his death.

In 1920, Paul Jacoulet started work with the French embassy in Tokyo, but due to his frail health he was forced to resign the position. In 1928, Jacoulet made the first of many trips to the South Seas, a region which inspired many of his future works. By 1934, Paul Jacoulet was working with top woodblock carvers and printers such as Kazuo Yamagishi to assist him in producing his first woodblock prints while continuing to act as his own publisher. Not only did Jacoulet use special hand-made watermarked paper made in Kyoto, but also lavish gold, silver, platinum, mother of pearl, mica, and other powdered semi-precious stones. The quality of material, along with his talent and subject matter made his prints unique and highly collectable. He also used as many as 300 different blocks for a single print. In 1941, Jacoulet chose the area of Karuizawa as his studio location and maintained this location until his death in 1960.

By the end of his life, Jacoulet was known as the, "Frenchman of the woodblock print", and became a favorite of post-war westerners. He took great pride in the fact that his prints hung in the offices and studies of the rich and famous - among them General MacArthur, Pope Pius XII, President Truman, Queen Elizabeth II and Greta Garbo. His works are in the collection of The British Museum, Vatican Museum, Pacific Asia Museum, and numerous other private collections.
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