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Seizô Sougawara 

maître laqueur d'Eileen Gray

Sougawara, laque, laqueur, Eileen Gray, Inagaki, Editions Mérode, Inagaki

Author: Alexandra Jaffré

Language: French

172 pages - 182 images

December 2018

Deluxe copies limited to 500 copies including 150 numbered copies

Cover: Gmund 900 gr., serigraphy, cut holes.

Fedrigoni Arcoprint Milk 120 gr. paper

Graphic designer: Amélie Doistau

Photoengraving: Résolution

Offset printing: Alliance Partenaires Graphiques

Shapings and finishings: Clément SA

Serigraphy: Deux et Trois Dimensions

Square stitched back

26 x 20 cm

Without number copy: 110€ TTC + Shipping fees

Numbered copy till 150: 150€ TTC + Shipping fees (on request only)

The Japanese lacquerer Seizô Sugawara (1884-1937) is considered the essential link in the teaching of Japanese lacquer art in France at the beginning of the 20th century. If his name had gone down in history as the master of the designer Eileen Gray and the copperware maker Jean Dunand, the whole story of his life had been forgotten. Where and when was he born? What was the story of his family? Where had he studied lacquer art? When and why had he come to France? When had he met Gray? How did their lacquer workshop work during their twenty years of collaboration? After the closure of their workshop, what had become of them?


This scientific biography, with more than 700 footnotes, reconstructs Sugawara's life in support of numerous unpublished sources: his youth in Japan, the reasons for his arrival in France and his work for the goldsmith Parisian Lucien Gaillard, the life he led in the arts capital with his Japanese expatriate friends, the operation of the lacquer workshop that Gray opened with him and the many lacquer techniques he mastered.

In the light of new information and several lacquered works rediscovered and published for the first time, this book offers a new analysis of creations in Gray lacquer and presents the work of sculptor-lacquerer of Sugawara.


This edition is abundantly illustrated with old and unpublished photographs with many portraits of the lacquerer, portraits of a group of Japanese artists settled in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century. It also contains an unknown portrait of Eileen Gray, views of her studio around 1920 and numerous photographs of lacquered works.


Among the artists, craftsmen, merchants, collectors, institutions and places which are either cited, analyzed or photographed in the book, the reader will find the names of: Joseph Brummer, Damia, Jacques Doucet, Jean Dunand, Foujita, Yûzô Fujikawa, Loïe Fuller, Lucien Gaillard, Eileen Gray, Katsu Hamanaka, Shôkichi Hatake, Ichizô Hashimoto, Tetsujirô Hosaka, Kichizô Inagaki, Keishichi Ishiguro, Sadaji Kakehi, Coutaro Kamoura or Kawamura, Takeshirô Kanokogi, Icchô Kawanobe, Yoshi Kino-Outi, Eyre de Lanux, Kôkichi Maejima, Ukichi Maruyama, Juliette Mathieu Lévy known as Suzanne Talbot, Tetsuya Mizunoya, Kishû Morikawa, Jôkichi Naïto, Tamezô Oosumi, Katsumi Ousuda, Marie Paule Pomaret, Marthe Régnier, Auguste Rodin, baron Henri de Rothschild, baron Jirôhachi Satsuma, Koûn Takamura, Kaiteki Toda, Seifû Tsuda, Nobutarô Tsujimura, Sanzô Wada, Ryô Yanagi, Sotarô Yasui ; Sakata (Yamagata prefecture in Japan), Tôkyô Fine Arts School, Salon des Artistes décorateurs, rue du Théâtre (Paris), rue de Lota (Paris), galerie de la Renaissance, galerie Jean Désert, Cercle japonais, galerie Zivy (Paris), Chantilly, Vaux-de-Cernay.


An art historian, the author worked for several years in an auction house in Paris. Specialist of many decorators active in Paris in the years 1900-1930, she endeavors to find new archives in order to deepen the knowledge of this artistic period in France. This biography is his first publication. She is currently preparing future works on major figures from the Art Deco period.

Who we are

Founded in 2018, the independent micro house of Merode Publishings, called after the famous French dancer Cleo de Merode, specializes in publishing luxury art books, in limited edition, on artists, craftsmen, collectors, French decorative arts and fashion from Belle Époque to 1930.


We consider each of our books as an object of art and culture, which inspires the intention to combine knowledge and beauty in a coherent universe. We therefore devote particular attention and close monitoring to each stage of the construction of the structure. The print run is limited due to production costs, the finest materials selected and the choice of finishes.


The house has chosen to collaborate with French craftsmen and craftswomen passionate about their profession, in order to support and enhance their know-how, whether that of the graphic design of the book, the stationer with the selection of a textured luxury paper, that of the photoengraving of illustrations and photographs, a quality offset printing, the shaping and finishing in the Great East of France and the production of covers serigraphed by hand by a specialized Parisian workshop.

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