highlights international perspective

Paul Jacoulet, (1902-1960)

Serie Fleurs: Belle de Tomil, Fleurs Violettes

Color woodblock print on thick cream wove paper with artist's watermark of his initials and name in kanji, PJ Jyaku-Rei. Elegantly pencil signed, Paul Jacoulet, with red artist's 'good luck' seal (in the shape of Daikoku's mallet). With paper title label on lower right margin, FLEURS VIOLETTES "Belle de Tomil" (Série Fleurs), and block carver seal on lower left margin Kentaro to (Maeda Kentaro, active 1934-61) and printed by Fusakichi Ogawa (active 1935-1942). Red limited edition cartouche on verso, hyakugojû mai zeppan dai yon ban (150 limited edition, number 4). Published by the artist, ca. 1937.

48.2 by 37.2 cm

Alternate titles: Violet Blossoms; Violet Flowers

Miles, The Prints of Paul Jacoulet, 1982, pp. 97-98, illus. p. 52, cat. no. 41
Yokohama Museum of Art, Eyes Towards Asia: Ukiyo-e Artists from Abroad,, 1996, pp. 244-245, and illus. p. 146, no. 198

Paris-born Paul Jacoulet spent only the first four years of his life in France. He was not a robust child, and would struggle the rest of his life with lingering health problems. His father took a job in Japan shortly after the birth of his frail son, but it would be four years before Paul was strong enough to journey to Tokyo with his mother. By choice or by necessity, Paul's health issues kept him away from other children, and his mother provided him with numerous private tutors in the arts. He excelled at languages, calligraphy, drawing, painting, and also learned to play both the violin and the Japanese shamisen. He collected thousands of butterflies (a hobby he continued to pursue as an adult), Japanese and Korean ceramics, and 'golden age' ukiyo-e woodblock prints. His early paintings were based on the ukiyo-e style.

As a young man, Jacoulet took a job as a translator at the French Embassy in Tokyo. He loathed his work but devoted his personal time to entertainments; Noh theater, Bunraku (puppetry) theater, sumo wrestling, and the company of actors and geisha, all the while neglecting his own art. When the Great Kanto earthquake in 1923 destroyed much of Tokyo, including the houses on either side of Jacoulet's home (which was miraculously untouched), Jacoulet had a realization: he was wasting time that should be spent focused on his art. He resigned from the embassy. Jacoulet's father had died a few years earlier after returning to France to serve in World War I, and his mother remarried well, providing Jacoulet with an income. With her support, he embarked on a series of trips in the late 1920's to the South Seas and Korea, filling his notebooks with designs for future paintings.

verso seal
verso seal


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site last updated
September 22, 2020

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475