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Tsuguharu Foujita (1886-1968)
Modern Paris school
Portrait of a lady with cat
Signed: Tsuguji & T. Foujita, 1938 Tokio
Seals:
Technique: Pencil and (brushed) ink on paper 62.3 x 45.7
Date: 1938, Tokyo
Condition: tiny paper restoration, otherwise very good

The same subject in pen, ink and watercolour done in same year was auctioned at Sotheby's London, Lot # 377, 6/29/1988 (sold for US $ 82,118).

Foujita was the most successful Japanese painter in the Paris art scene before World War II and in 1933 he was welcomed back in Japan as a star.

In 1910 when Foujita was twenty-four years old he graduated at one of the oldest and most prestigious art schools in Japan, the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music (Tōkyō Gei-jutsu Daigaku). Three years later he went to Paris. Although he did not know anybody he soon met with Modigliani, Pascin, Soutine, and Léger and became friends with Juan Gris, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. “Fou-fou” as he was called made a reputation.

Within a few years, particularly after his 1918 exposition, he achieved great fame as a painter of beautiful women and cats in a very original technique. He is one of the few Montparnasse artists who made a great deal of money in his early years.

After he installed a bathtub with hot running water in his studio on Montparnasse he (or his bath tub) attracted many models. Among them was Kiki, a famous model at the time and the lover of Man Ray. She posed for his painting: "Reclining Nude with Toile de Jouy", which became the sensation of the Paris salon in 1922. By 1925 Foujita had received the Belgian Order of King Léopold I and the French government awarded him the Legion of Honor.

In 1931 after the breakup of his third marriage Foujita went to Brazil and traveled and painted all over Latin America. His work was a huge success, so much that in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 60.000 people attended his exhibition, and more than 10.000 queued up for his autograph. Two years later he returned to Tokyo as a national hero, but went back to Paris after the war. He died in Zürich in 1968 (to be buried in France).


Availability: On Request