Nouet, Noel

Born Frédéric Anges Nouët in Locmine, Brittany, Noël Nouët (1885-1969) became interested in Japan at an early age. As a child, Nouët was exposed to his mother’s collection of ukiyo-e prints by Ando Hiroshige that she had inherited from Duchesne de Bellecourt, the first French accredited diplomat in Japan. This would spark what would become Nouët’s life-long admiration for the work of that particular Japanese artist. In 1925, he decided to apply for a three-year position as a French teacher at Shizuoka High School near Mount Fuji and began teaching in 1926.

In addition to teaching the French language and literature in Shizuoka, he also taught a course once a week at the Military Academy in Tokyo, using those weekly trips to explore the historical sites of the capital on foot and creating incredibly detailed sketches of what he saw. Sketches became volumes, volumes were printed in limited run books, and in 1935, one of Nouët’s former students, S. Doi (the son of the Tokyo woodblock print publisher Sadaichi Doi and older brother to Sadaichi’s successor, Eiichi Doi), who had seen Nouët’s drawings, offered to have his family turn one his ink sketches turned into a woodblock print. Approximately 24 prints were published between 1935 and 1937.