Jacoulet Japanese Prints

While our images are electronically watermarked, the antique prints themselves are not.

Fleur Violettes. tomil, Yap and Keyblock Outline JCT33 $1750
This print measures approximately 11 7/8 inches by 15 7/8 inches

Signature: "Paul Jacoulet" in the plate.
Date: 1937
Carver: Miles
Condition: Foxing on front margins and in image; tape remnants and toning on reverse.

Paul Jacoulet's art is a unique synthesis of the traditions of the two great artistic cultures of Japan and France.  While born in Paris, his family moved to Japan when he was six.  It was a time when Japan was still ruled by the Imperial Court and the Emperor revered as a god.  Living in an elite neighborhood in Tokyo, he attended fine Japanese private schools, becoming fluent in Japanese, French and English.

At an early age, he demonstrated artistic talent, and studied under Seiki Kuroda, Takeji Fujishima and Terukata Ikeda.  He embraced Japanese cultural skills and traditions, including  gidayu (narrative chanting to the samisen) and bijin-ga (paintings of beautiful women).  Surely his immersion in the Japanese culture in a manner that few Westerners ever achieve was the platform from which sprung his superb mastery of the art of Japanese woodblock printing and his development of the art to new heights.  

Also an accomplished linguist, he worked at the French Embassy in Tokyo as a translator until the devastating earthquake of 1923.  As biographer Richard Miles wrote, "Convinced he was not spared to attend teas at the embassy and translate unread memoranda; never again would Jacoulet stop working at his art."

Paul's father returned to France to serve in the First World War, but Paul's mother Jeanne and Paul remained in Japan.  After the death of her husband, Jeanne remarried a Japanese physician, Nakamura, and moved with her new husband to the Japanese occupied city of Seoul, Korea. Paul continued to work in Japan supported by his mother.

His first trip to Micronesia occurred in 1928 due in some part to his poor health and the quest for relief from his chronic respiratory disorder.   These visits provide the inspiration for some of his most beautiful works, in a style reminiscent of another great painter inspired by the South Sea Islands, Gauguin.

Jacoulet self published many of his prints and worked with the most skilled woodblock carvers and printers of the day.  He spared no expense in using the best quality materials,   papers and pigments, including silver and gold, mica and other precious elements.  Thus, his prints have a unique beauty and have survived the passage of time much better than many woodblock prints due to the quality of materials used.  His exacting standards caused many prints to be destroyed and his lifetime output is generally thought to be about 166 prints, though he made many thousands of drawings and paintings. 

Prior to the March 1945 Tokyo fire-bombing, Jacoulet's works were moved from his studio in Akasaka to Karuizawa and thus saved from the devastation that overtook Tokyo and certain destruction.  In Karuizawa, a house was purchased for Paul and the two Korean brothers he had adopted.  The house still stands today, with over 2000 prints and paintings intact, carefully preserved by his adopted son Tomita's daughter, Therese, and supporters of his work after his death.

In 2003 the first major Japanese exhibit of his work "The Rainbow Vision of French Ukiyo-e Artist Paul Jacoulet" opened at the Yokohama Museum of Art, linked here.


His art became a great favourite with the American occupation troops, including General MacArthur who arranged for him to work at the Tokyo Army College,a center of educational and cultural activities for members of the occupational forces and Japanese citizens alike.

Many illustrious people and museums collected his work including General MacArthur, Queen Elizabeth II, Greta Garbo, Pope Pius X1, President Truman, the British Museum and the Asia Pacific Museum. Today, it is widely revered, hard to find, as the editions were relatively small, and highly prized and collected.

This print measures approximately 11 7/8 inches by 15 7/8 inches. The high quality paper is in excellent condition, with very little of the toning so often seen and the rich, vibrant colouring so typical of his work.

The notch cut in the corner of the paper represents a registration cut for aligning the paper during printing. The verso contains either the print's edition number stamp or the elaborate PJ stamp.

We accept credit cards & PayPal. Washington state residents pay Washington state sales tax. Shipping for this item is $20. Items can be combined to save on postage. Our environment is smoke free. We pack professionally using only new materials. All items are beautifully wrapped and suitable for sending directly as gifts. You may return any item within 7 days if not satisfied. To order, you may call us at 1-888-PANTEEK, fax or email.


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