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Tsuguharu Foujita

Untitled from "Les Enfants", 1929

A French-Japanese painter and printmaker Tsuguharu Foujita, also known as Leonard Tsuguharu Foujita, is credited with being the “first Japanese artist to free that country’s art of its legendary and classic image”. Tsuguharu Foujita spent most of his career in Paris, where he was associated with revolutionary artists including Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Henri Rousseau. However, the artist often returned to his native country and was there for nine years during World War II. After that, Tsuguharu Foujita returned to Paris where he served as President of the Association of Japanese Artists.

His painting style was primarily expressionist, although he did some realism as well. After his conversion to Catholicism, Tsuguharu Foujita did frescoes for the Chapel of Our Lady of Peace in Reims. The artist also did the decoration at the Japanese House at Cité Universitaire in Paris.

In Tokyo, Japan, as a youth, he studied at the Imperial School of Fine Art and received much recognition including the purchase of one of his paintings by the Japanese Emperor. In 1912, Tsuguharu Foujita went to London and the next year to Paris to live and this ended what appeared to be a career in Japan.

In 1917, Tsuguharu Foujita had his first exhibition in Paris, and by 1924, was exhibiting with the Fauves at the Salon d’Automne. That same year, he became an elected member of the Tokyo Academy of Fine Arts.

Tsuguharu Foujita died in Zurich, Switzerland in 1968 at the age of 81.

Biography from the Archives of AskART.