Between the years 1939-1960, Frenchman Paul Jacoulet, became one of Japan's most successful woodblock artists. An incredible story of an openly gay Parisian living in Karuizawa mastering the art of woodblock printing.
Born in Paris in 1896, Jacoulet moved to Karuizawa located in the mountains near Nagano, Japan, during World War II. His style is best known for mixing the traditional ukiyo-e style with techniques he developed himself.
Jacoulet was a real renaissance man, one of the very few western artists to have mastered the art of woodblock printing and recognised by Japan as a true woodblock artist.
In order to gain a global reputation as an artist, Jacoulet would send prints to the rich and famous, including the second wife of U.S. Army General of the Army Douglas, Jean MacArthur, who displayed his work at General MacArthur's Tokyo headquarters and later the Waldorf Astoria in New York.
All of Jacoulet's pre-World War II pieces are incredibly rare as they were either taken out of Japan by collectors or destroyed by the savages of war. In recent years, Jacoulet prints have reached in excess of £11 000 at auction. Check out all realised prices for Paul Jacoulet here.
A flamboyant character, Jacoulet was skilled at Japanese musical instruments, a calligrapher, linguist and a butterfly collector. He was openly homosexual during a time that his sexual orientation was not accepted by society. Towards the end of his life, the artist was banned from travelling the the U.S. due to his sexual orientation. A true testament to his character, he dressed up in a white suit with a silver cane and walked into America via Niagara Falls.
Nicholas Wells, an online antique furniture dealer based in London features an outstanding selection of Paul Jacoulet prints in their current collection as well as furniture, clocks, silver, Oriental works of art, sculpture, carpets, Oceanic and Tribal pieces, arms and armour. Nicholas Wells is currently at London Olympia Art & Antiques fair until 3rd July and will be exhibiting at the Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair Battersea 27 September - 2 October 2016.