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ARTIST

LEONARD-TSUGUHARU FOUJITA

Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita was born on 27th November 1886 in Tokyo. Foujita wanted to study in France as soon as he finished his secondary education; but changed his mind and decided to study Western art in Japan before going to France. He graduated the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1910, at twenty-four years old. 


Three years after graduating, he went to Montparnasse in Paris, France. He had his first studio at no.5 rue Delambre in Montparnasse, where he had the luxury of installing a bathtub that had running hot water. Many modles came to his house, one of which he has painted in the nude multiple times. One of the nude paintings was featured in the Salon d'Automne in 1922, selling for just over 8,000 francs.


Foujita married his first wife, Tomiko Tokita, in 1912. In March 1917, Foujita met a young lady at a café, who initially showed no interest in Foujita. That night Foujita made the young lady (Fernande Barrey) a blue coursage that he then gave to her the next day; they married within a month. Their relationship was very open, but in 1925 they divorced; Foujita could not forgive his wife after she had an affair with his cousin. That same year, he married his third wife; Lucie Badoul. This relationship ended when she bacame the lover, and later the wife, of the poet Robert Desons.


After his 1918 expostition, Foujita became very famous as a painter of beautiful women and cats; he is one of the few Montparnasse artists who made a large amount of money in his early years. In 1931, he flew to Brazil with his new love interest, Mady, and painted all over Latin America. During the Second World War, he became a producer of militaristic propoganda, after returning to Japan in 1933.


Foujita gave up his Japanese citizenship in 1955 in order to become a French citizen. He converted to Catholicism and was baptised in Reims Cathedral on 14th October 1959. His last major work was at the age of 80; the design, building and decoration of the Foujita Chapel. He died of cancer in Zürich on January 29th 1968.

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