Born in France in 1898, Jean Charlot studied at the Ecole de Beaux-Arts in Paris and served as an artillery officer at the end of the first World War. Soon after, he moved to Mexico and by the 1920s he had established himself in the art community of Mexico City. He befriended Diego Rivera, Jose Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, all main figures in the Mexican Mural movement of the early 1920s. For two years, he concentrated on mural paintings in fresco and became an assistant to Diego Rivera.
Charlot produced a series of small woodcuts and oils, primarily portraits of many of his contemporaries. In 1933, he completed a series of lithographs with printer, George Miller, among them “Great Builders I” and “Great Builders II”.
He moved to New York in 1928 and his work was shown in the Mexican government- sponsored group exhibition at the Art Center during the same year. He also participated in group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art and the Fogg Museum.
Charlot met the printer Lynton R. Kistler in Los Angeles in 1933 and together they completed a color lithograph, which led to the publishing of “Picture Book”, a collection containing thirty- two color lithographs. In 1938, he taught extensively, at Choiunard Art School, Stendahl Galleries, Disney Studios and, in New York, at the Art Students League, Columbia University and the Brooklyn Museum. He spent his later years living and working in Hawaii.