MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART EVENING SALE

1667 | TSUGUHARU FOUJITA Painted in 1918 SNOWY WINTER OF 1918

SNOWY WINTER OF 1918

Author: TSUGUHARU FOUJITA 藤田嗣治

Size: 40.3×32.6cm

Signed and dated: Painted in 1918

Estimate: No Reserve

Final Price: RMB 2,600,000


signed in Japanese and English
REMARK
This work is authored and signed by Sylvie Buisson, president of Union Française des Experts (UFE ) Issue Number:D18.167 A.

The year of 1917 not only witnessed the crucial change of the situation of WWI, but also was a turning point of Tsuguharu Foujita. In March 1917, Tsuguharu Foujita married Femande Barrey and they were still hard-pressed after marriage. Financial troubles discouraged Tsuguharu from affording expensive oil painting materials, so he mainly created watercolor paper paintings and sketches during the first days in Paris. Due to the limitations of materials, Tsuguharu applied the appearance pens brought from Japan in his paintings and kept the unique Japanese style in figure paintings, with the elegant and slim lines as his representative and well-known feature. June of the same year witnessed the first peak of his career when his first solo exhibition in the painting merchant Cheron’s gallery became an immediate success. Signing with the gallery was followed by the opportunity of his second solo show in the following November and due to the successful sales of the exhibited paintings, Tsuguharu became better off and gradually shifted to oil paintings.
Snowy Winter of 1918 is Tsuguharu’s representative painting of a female group created during his earlier days in Paris. On a snowy winter day, several young women in bright colors played happily around a snowman at the lower part of the painting. The scene of snow painted by Tsuguharu shows explicit flatness, with sparse dried tree branches in the heavy snow. The decorativeness instead of the depth of focus is emphasized in the background painting, which is a tradition of yamato-e in Japan. His self-portrait, his portrait of Mrs. Tsuguharu and religious paintings were always stuck with gold foil (see the figure) to imitate the Rinpa School’s preference of heave use of gold foil in paintings. This painting of snow is more likely to follow the Rinpa School with Sakai Hōitsu as the representative and its preference to silver background (see the figure of Flowers and Grasses of Summer and Autumn). According to Toshio Shimizu, a Japanese art critic, Tsuguharu Foujita’s watercolor paintings in 1917 and 1918, especially the portrayal of human bodies, demonstrate his own style based on the painter’s study of the origin of Western painting after he arrived in Paris, including prehistoric carven fresco, and art forms in ancient Egypt and Greek, while also combining the traditional Japanese painting. Undoubtedly, Tsuguharu’s drawing also includes the elements of Ukiyoe, such as drawing the delicate and beautiful lines with an appearance pen to skillfully portray the misty transparent veil and tender female figures (see the figure). All the above-mentioned features prove that Tsuguharu Foujita already has a superb mastery of watercolor paintings.