Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita (French/Japanese, 1968)

Léonard Tsugouharu Foujita (French/Japanese, 1886–1968) was a painter and printmaker, born in Edogawa, Tokyo. He received his formal training at the Imperial School of Fine Arts, quickly attracting success, with commissions from the emperors of Korea and Japan.

In 1913, he traveled to Paris, immediately befriending many of the leading painters of the day, including Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris, Henri Matisse, Henri Rousseau, and Chaim Soutine. He struck up a particularly close friendship with the famous Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani (Italian, 1884–1920).

Known for his eccentric personality, Foujita developed a colorful reputation through his cropped hairstyle, hoop earrings, and glasses. But beyond the public image, Foujita took his work very seriously, displaying a fondness for white and pale shades like lavender and gray, Foujita walked a fine line between Japanese and European art, and was repeatedly inspired by women and cats.

Following the breakup of his third marriage, Foujita left Paris for Latin America, spending time in Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, and Argentina, before eventually returning to Japan, where he lived during World War II. Following the war, Foujita again left Japan for France, eventually becoming a citizen in 1955.

Later in life, Foujita converted to Catholicism, and decorated a cathedral in the city of Reims. Foujita then adopted the Christian name Léonard, in homage to Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452–1519), and he was buried in Reims following his death in 1968 at the age of 81.

Today, his work can be found in numerous public and private collections around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Argentina.

Timeline

1886
Born in Tokyo, Japan
1968
Died in Reims, France

Exhibitions

2008
Modigliani y su tiempo - Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
2008
VERKAUFSAUSSTELLUNG - TRADITION EXPRESSION - Galerie Barthelmess & Wischnewski, Berlin
2007
The 3oth Anniversary - Collection of the National Museum of Art, Osaka - NMAO National Museum of Art Osaka, Osaka
2006
Ècole de Paris: Primitivism and Nostalgia - Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Kobe
2006
Léonard Foujita - MOMAK National Museum of Modern Art Kyoto, Kyoto (solo)
2006
Tsuguharu Foujita - MOMAT The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (solo)
2003
Künstlerphotographien - Berühmte Photographen portraitieren berühmte Künstler - Galerie Pudelko, Bonn
2001
Da Renoir a Picasso. Un secolo d'Arte dal Petit Palais di Ginevra - Palazzo Bricherasio, Turin
2000
L'école de Paris, 1904-1929 - La part de l'Autre - Musée d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris - MAM/ARC, Paris
2000
Visage Painting and the Human Face in 20th Century Art - NMWA The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo

Public Collections

Hiroshima Museum of Art, Hiroshima, Japan
Pola Museum of Art, Kanagawa, Japan
MOMAT The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan
NMWA The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Japan
Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota Aichi, Japan