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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE SPANISH COLLECTION

Femme à la toile de Jouy

Femme à la toile de Jouy
signed 'Foujita' (lower left)
oil and ink on canvas
13 7/8 x 10 5/8 in. (35.2 x 27 cm.)
Painted in 1953
Acquired in Barcelona in 1953, and thence by descent to the present owners.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Post lot text
Sylvie Buisson has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

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Lot Essay

From the beginning of his career in Japan, to his rise to fame as the quintessential image of a Roaring Twenties dandy in Paris, Foujita maintained his distinct artistic style. Despite the presence of avant-garde artists such as Picasso, Matisse and Modigliani who championed Cubism and Modernism, Foujita refrained from joining any distinct movement, and instead created his own unique style combining Japanese and Parisian culture. Foujita's modernity and originality resided in precisely this fusion of the formal training of his Japanese heritage, the finesse of his lines, and a reinterpreted iconography and luminous palette of his adoptive country.

Foujita was a shining presence among the bright stars of L'École de Paris. He stood out for his trademark look — hair like a mushroom cap, round-rimmed glasses, a square patch of moustache above his upper lip. His vivacious personality, combined with a highly individual painting style, made him 'the darling of Paris' during the Belle Époque period and resurrected himself as such in the 1950s, even after a twenty year absence. Indeed, executed in 1953, Femme à la toile de Jouy was produced during this Paris Renaissance period, and exemplifies the personal technical developments Foujita made with his move towards gentler, fairy-tale subjects after the horrors of the War. During the second Paris period, Foujita drew inspiration from his everyday life, shifting his focus from the sensual nudes of the 20s and 30s to more light hearted subjects featuring doll-like children and young women, often inspired by La Fontaine's fables: 'This is the sad thing about the aftermath of war. The artist wants to live in peace, in tranquillity and maybe even in joy, in order to move away from the ugliness. […] Foujita remains ever sensitive to feminine expressions, to the grace of maternity scenes […] and the purity of feminine attitudes' wrote the journalist Deuzaires at the time of the third Pétridès exhibition in 1954.

Set in profile against the backdrop of the exquisite sepia toile de Jouy, with little scenes in 18th-century style painting playing-out in perfect detail, Femme à la toile de Jouy is a poignant oil painting celebrating these 'feminine expressions' in one of Foujita's most sought-after subjects, the female portrait. The toile de Jouy or 'Jouy Print' took its name from the celebrated textile factory at Jouy-en-Josas (near Versailles). These Jouy Print patterns – linen fabric printed with designs of landscapes and figures — are used by Foujita to poetically frame and enhance the sitter's alabaster skin. In addition Foujita employs his familiar and specific technique of drawing a fine black ink line over a thin layer of carefully prepared white ground, to carve out the contours of her elegant profile and define the fluid folds of drapery that fall around her.

In his reduction of the colour range by using the two colours of the toile de Jouy, sepia and white, and black, grey wash and white for the representation of the woman, Foujita provokes a striking contrast between the two images. In his representation of toile de Jouy we see how Foujita was very sensitive to details from French folk tradition, and it is the simplicity, serenity, and purity of line in contrast to this, that makes his portrait at once so lifelike and so chaste. The way the forms are modelled, with scarcely any shading and very little colour, recalls the stump technique the artist used so often in his drawings. Thiébault Sisson wrote of Foujita, 'It is the relief without shading of M. Ingres--with whom, indeed, Foujita seems to have as much in common as with his Japanese ancestors--a relief which is suggested, at least in its essentials, merely by the supple arabesques of the lines' (J. Selz, Foujita, New York, 1981, pp. 32 & 61).

Not seen on the market since it was acquired in 1953, the very same year it was executed, the present work joins this quite distinct and special group of paintings where Foujita used la toile de Jouy, with other examples housed at major institutions such as the Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

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