Leonard Foujita (1886 - 1968)
Jeune Fille de la Rose 1925 drypoint etching (plate area 238mm x 178mm)
Sylvie Buisson - 'Foujita' Volume II Paris 2001 No.25, 118
Unsigned proof signed edition from 29.
Léonard Tsugouharu Foujita (è—¤ç”° å—£æ²» Fujita Tsuguharu, 1886 –1968) was a painter and printmaker born in Tokyo, Japan who applied Japanese ink techniques to Western style paintings. He studied western art in Japan and in 1910 when he was twenty-four years old Foujita graduated from what is now the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. His paintings during the period before he moved to France were often signed "Fujita" rather than the gallicized "Foujita" he adopted later.
Three years later he went to Montparnasse in Paris, France. When he arrived there, knowing nobody, he met Amedeo Modigliani, Pascin, Chaim Soutine, and Fernand Léger and became friends with Juan Gris, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Foujita had his first studio in Montparnasse where he became the envy of everyone when he eventually made enough money to install a bathtub with hot running water. Many models came over to Foujita's place to enjoy this luxury, among them Man Ray's very liberated lover, Kiki, who boldly posed for Foujita in the nude in the outdoor courtyard. Another portrait of Kiki titled "Reclining Nude with Toile de Jouy," shows her lying naked against an ivory-white background. It was the sensation of Paris at the Salon d'Automne in 1922, selling for more than 8,000 francs.
His life in Montparnasse is documented in several of his works, including the etching A la Rotonde or Café de la Rotonde of 1925/7, part of the Tableaux de Paris series published in 1929.
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. By 1925, Tsuguharu Foujita had received the Belgian Order of Leopold and the French government awarded him the Legion of Honor.