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Leonard Tsuguharu Foujita (Japanese 1886-1968) Original Signed Portrait of Cat
Leonard Tsuguharu Foujita (Japanese 1886-1968) Portrait of Cat, Inscribed "Kermesse aux" with a star. Kermesse Aux Etoiles or Fair of the Stars was a Paris event that showcased famous actors, singers, artists, etc. There are multiple drawings by Foujita with this same inscription in his raisonne of drawings.
This artist has had a number of works sold at Christies, ranging from a lithograph for $4600, to a cat lithograph for $6000.00, to a portrait that originally sold in Paris for 8000 francs and later was sold in 2013 at Christies for $1,205,000. This artwork has a cat that is almost a trademark of his most coveted works. Any art purchase should be one that you really love. I really love this, and thoroughly enjoy it. Enjoyment alone, along with pride of ownership, are the best benefits from a loved painting. (We have more information at the end of this listing about the artist).
Country of Origin: France.
Medium: Pencil on Paper.
Signed and Dated : Lower left; 1953. See photos.
Size: 11 7/8" by 8 5/8". Framed 18 1/4" by 15 1/4".
Condition: Age yellowing; waviness; some water damage to mat; possibly to drawing.
Léonard Tsugouharu Foujita (藤田 嗣治 Fujita Tsuguharu?, November 27, 1886 – January 29, 1968) was an artist and printmaker born in Tokyo, Japan who applied Japanese ink techniques to Western style paintings. He has been called "the most important Japanese artist working in the West during the 20th century". His Book of Cats, published in New York by Covici Friede, 1930, with 20 etched plate drawings by Foujita is one of the top 500 (in price) rare books ever sold, and is ranked by rare book dealers as "the most popular and desirable book on cats ever published".
Immediately after graduating secondary school, Foujita wished to study in France, but on the advice of Mori Ogai (his father's senpai military physician) he decided to study western art in Japan first.
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. Foujita left Japan after the war. Today, his works can be found in the Bridgestone Museum of Art and in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, and more than 100 in the Hirano Masakichi Art Museum in Akita.
On his return to France, Foujita converted to Catholicism. He was baptised in Reims Cathedral on 14 October 1959, with René Lalou (the head of the Mumm champagne house) as his godfather and Françoise Taittinger as his godmother. This is reflected in his last major work,at the age of 80, the design, building and decoration of the Foujita chapel in the gardens of the Mumm champagne house in Reims, France, which he completed in 1966, not long before his death. Tsuguharu Foujita died of cancer on January 29, 1968 in Zürich, Switzerland and was interred in the Cimetière de Villiers-le-Bâcle, Essonne département, France. In 2003, his coffin was reinterred at the Foujita chapel under the flagstones in the position he originally intended when constructing the chapel.
His personal life, including three marriages, is also quite fascinating, but space does not permit more here.
A Foujita "Girl with Cat" just sold at Doyle Auction (New York) for $ 47,500.00 before Buyer's Premium! It is very similar to our "Fille Avec Chat" that we have listed.
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Miriam Barkus, Davie, FL
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