Foujita: A Retrospective
― Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of his Death
31 July – 8 October 2018
Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum
Tsuguharu Fujita (Léonard Foujita 1886-1968) is counted among the great painters of the School of Paris. Born in Japan, he spent more than half of his life in France.
This exhibition is organized to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the artist’s demise. It will shed light on his art from multiple angles, ranging from landscape, portrait and nudity to religious themes, while incorporating the latest research findings.
A most comprehensive retrospective of Foujita
Among more than 100 paintings to be displayed include carefully selected works from major museums, such as the Pompidou Center, the City of Paris Museum of Modern Art, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium at Brussels, the Petit Palais museum in Switzerland, as well as the Art Institute of Chicago.
Some of these works will be shown for the first time in Japan. More than ten nude paintings in milky white tones, the brushwork most emblematic of the artist, will also be exhibited.
Foujita with many facets
The exhibition will offer an opportunity to rediscover Foujita’s unusual yet attractive character, with his self-portraits in bobbed hair and round spectacles – the artist’s signature style, his muses, handmade objects that adorned his atelier and beloved cats.
It is also an occasion to learn about the secret of his canvasses. Foutita applied to them multiple layers of oil, water and talc, thereby to obtain a finish in milky white, on which he traced fine black lines.
What not to miss at the Foujita exhibition
His debut in Paris
Foujita arrived in Paris in 1913 at the age of 27. In the 1910s, he produced works of modern and figurative art under the influence of Cubism and various currents. The artist forged a friendship with Modigliani and Soutine, among others.
藤田嗣治 《二人の少女》 1918年 油彩・カンヴァス プティ・パレ美術館（スイス・ジュネーヴ）蔵 Two Girls 1918 Photo: Studio Monique Bernaz, Genève © Fondation Foujita / ADAGP, Paris & JASPAR, Tokyo, 2017 E2833
Self-portraits in the 1920s
The self-portraits on display includes one with the artist in bobbed hair and round spectacles painted in 1921, just after his debut in Paris. Also presented at the exhibition, another self-portrait depicts the painter surrounded by his favourite objects and a cat in his atelier, produced at the time when he became a popular artist.
藤田嗣治 《自画像》 1929年 油彩・カンヴァス 東京国立近代美術館蔵 Self-Portrait 1929 © Fondation Foujita / ADAGP, Paris & JASPAR, Tokyo, 2017 E2833
Portraits in the 1920s
In the 1920s, Foujita notched his first successes as a painter in France. He received orders of portraits from celebrities. His paintings made a sensation at the Salon d’Automne.
藤田嗣治 《エミリー・クレイン=シャドボーンの肖像》 1922年 油彩、銀箔、金粉・カンヴァス シカゴ美術館（アメリカ）蔵 Portrait of Emily Crane Chadbourne 1922 © The Art Institute of Chicago / Art Resource, NY
© Fondation Foujita / ADAGP, Paris & JASPAR, Tokyo, 2017 E2833
20 years after the war: Tokyo, New York and Paris
After the Second World War, Foujita left Japan in 1949. He spent a year in New York, before settling again in Paris and obtaining the citizenship of France where he spent the rest of his life.
藤田嗣治 《カフェ》 1949年 油彩・カンヴァス ポンピドゥー・センター（フランス・パリ）蔵 At the Café 1949 Photo © Musée La Piscine (Roubaix), Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Arnaud Loubry / distributed by AMF © Fondation Foujita / ADAGP, Paris & JASPAR, Tokyo, 2017 E2833
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