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FOUJITA (LÉONARD TSUGUHARU, FRANCE/JAPAN, 1886-1968)
FOUJITA (LÉONARD TSUGUHARU, FRANCE/JAPAN, 1886-1968)

Nu à l'escarpin jaune (Nude with yellow shoe)

Details
FOUJITA (LÉONARD TSUGUHARU, FRANCE/JAPAN, 1886-1968)
Nu à l'escarpin jaune (Nude with yellow shoe)
signed in Japanese, signed and dated 'Foujita 1928' (lower left)
ink, watercolour and gouache on paper
45 x 63.5 cm. (17 3/4 x 25 in.)
Painted in 1928
Provenance
Private Collection, France
Literature
Sylvie Buisson, Léonard-Tsuguharu Foujita Volume 2: Sa vie, son oeuvre, Paris,
France, 2001 (illustrated in black and white, plate 28.156, p. 266).
Musée Maillol, Foujita - Peindre dans les Années Folles, (exh. cat.) Fonds
Mercator, Brussels, Belgium (illustrated, plate 86, p. 128).
Exhibited
Paris, France, Musée Maillol, Foujita - Peindre dans les Années Folles, 7 March - 15 July 2018

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Jessica Hsu
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Lot Essay

'The more eccent ric I am in my action, the more insane I am in how I live, the closer I am to being my true self.'- Tsuguharu Foujita

The enchanting contour of the young girl is delineated against a milky white backdrop with greyish tones, as the ink shading accentuates the colors in the composition. She lowers her head slightly, with half of her shoulder exposed. While her eyes gleam with innocence, she purses her lips into a gentle pout. The painting resounds with the oriental aesthetics. Both Fille (Lot 036) and Nu à l'escarpin jaune (Nude with yellow shoe) (Lot 037) are classic works of Tsuguharu Foujita. This "milkywhite skin" captivated Paris, the world's capital of the arts, in the 1920s.

One of the few Asian painters from the School of Paris, Foujita was someone who had strong beliefs and ideas from a young age. From his rejection of his art teachers' views in his youth to his flamboyant Roman-styled outfits in his early days in Paris, one could see that beyond the influences of Japanese culture, he also had a rebellious streak in his character. As the viewer glimpses into the artwork, what they see in between the artist's madness and rebellion is his delicate, tender brushwork and an exquisitely profound realm. Encapsulated in the format of Western oil painting, this sense of conflicts becomes the focal point in Foujita's work.

This sense of conflicts becomes even more distinct in his works from the late 1940s. After experiencing a series of entanglements in his hometown, Foujita returned to Paris, and he turned to very young girls and children as the main subjects of his paintings. Nevertheless, they emanate a solemn countenance and feelings of solitude that are at odds with their age, and which evoke a sense of alienation in the viewer. In Portrait of a Young Lady (Lot 038), the fluttering hair and the darkly radiant glance may be hints to the loneliness that the artist contained in himself, as he strode forward on his own in his self-discovery and self-reflection.

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