Paul Jacoulet


Paul Jacoulet (1896–1960) was a French-born, Japan-based woodblock printer with a style that mixed traditional ukiyo-e and his own techniques. Above are two of his prints that are on display in the Saint Louis Art Museum’s Century of Japanese Prints show. Born in Paris the son of a French diplomat, he lived most of his life in Japan. Doted on and encouraged as an artist by his mother, he was often sent south during winter. She believed that the South Pacific could do as much for her son’s art as Polynesia had done for Gauguin. His father left Japan when WW II began, but he and his mother remained. She began living with a Japanese general. Jacoulet survive the war years by moving to the countryside and raising vegetables and poultry. He was a shameless self-promoter and sent his prints to famous people. MacArthur always got a Christmas gift and his work hung in the General’s Tokyo HQ. Near the end of his life he was barred entry to the US due to his “undesirability” as a gay. Undeterred and dressed in a white suit with a silver headed cane, he walked into the US at Niagara Falls. He primarily printed figures and frequently portrayed rural Japanese in traditional dress. These traits have given his work modern anthropological significance. 

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