Home > Artists > Leonard FOUJITA > AZUBAH



Item ID 13080120-0
Category collotype
Theme cat
Year 1930
Size 26.0*20.0cm
Remark ed500, portfolio "A Book of Cat"


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Leonard FOUJITA Biography

FOUJITA, born Tsuguharu Fujita in 1886, graduated from what is now the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music at the age of 24 and moved to Paris three years later.

Taking a studio in Montparnasse, he soon rose to fame both for his artistic achievements and his eccentricities. Nicknamed Fou-Fou (literally Mad-Mad in French) FOUJITA, with his large gold earrings, fringed haircut and tattooed wristwatch, became an icon of the Roaring Twenties. A friend of many avant-garde artists including Modigliani, Leger, Picasso and Matisse, his style was nonetheless his own, combining Japanese ink techniques with Western-style painting. He was particularly well-known for his images of cats and naked women with “milk-white skin”. It was his portrait of Kiki (Surrealist Man Ray’s liberated lover) entitled Reclining Nude with Toile de Jouy that stole the show at the Paris Salon d’Automne in 1922, selling for more than 8,000 francs. FOUJITA made a great deal of money in his early years – and was amongst a very small number of Montparnasse artists who managed to do so. By 1925 he was awarded state honors by both France and Belgium.

After the breakup of his third marriage, and his flight to Brazil in 1931 (with his new love, Mady), FOUJITA traveled and painted all over Latin America, giving hugely successful exhibitions along the way. In Buenos Aires, 60,000 people attended his exhibition, and more than 10,000 queued up for his autograph. In 1932 he contributed a work to the Pax Mundi, a large folio book produced by the League of Nations calling for a prolonged world peace, but by 1933 he had returned to Japan and became a noted producer of militaristic propaganda during the war.

He eventually returned to France, where he converted to Catholicism. His last major work was the decoration of a chapel in Rheims, which he completed in 1966, shortly before his death at age 82.

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