Leonard Tsuguharu Foujita

French / Japanese / 1886 - 1968 / wikipedia / departures.com / sequinsandcherryblossom.com
Photo: Ansel Adams

"...the toast of 1920's Montparnasse, more successful than Picasso at his peak, and now forgotten (except by connoisseurs of line drawings). http://www.departures.com/letters/features/lost-art

"Foujita Tsuguharu (Leonard), born in Edogawa, Tokyo. Success came quickly; he was commissioned to paint a portrait of the Emperor of Korea and subsequently the Japanese Emperor bought one of his pictures. At 27 he traveled to Paris, immediately making the acquaintance of the leading painters of the day. Several became his close friends, among them, Picasso, Soutine, Rivera and Cocteau and ...Modigliani, sharing models and lovers.

Japan in WWI was an ally of France and Belgium, and Foujita's loyalty and sociability endeared him to the establishment as much as the avant-garde. In the 1920's he was awarded state honors by both France and Belgium. In fact, he was far more popular than many of the luminaries of Paris who are now far better known. Foujita was also commercially more successful in the 1920s than most of his contemporaries. He was to most people a loveable eccentric; exotic, but unthreatening. His name in Japanese means 'field of Wisteria and Peace', yet, the life he led was certainly not quiet and peaceful. In fact he was one of the more eccentric artists of the time in Paris. His hair was cut in the style of an Egyptian statue; he wore earrings, dressed in tunics and had a tattoo around his wrist. He even wore a lampshade sometimes rather than a hat!

...Foujita blended traditional Japanese art with European Modernism in a unique manner, especially in his works on paper. He is best known for his nudes and cats, and was an accomplished landscapist, poster artist and muralist as well.

...Today, Foujita is seen as somewhat as a lightweight, decorative artist, though his popularity in France itself has not waned. Straddling 2 worlds, Foujita was in fact remarkably inventive, not merely..." http://www.artexpertswebsite.com/pages/artists/foujita.php
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