Author: TSUGUHARU FOUJITA 藤田嗣治
Signed and dated: Painted in 1947
Final Price: RMB 900,000
signed in French initial and dated 1947
The work is accompanied by a certificate issued by French expert Sylvie Buisson and will be published in the complete works of Foujita compiled by Sylvie Buisson
1. Collectors Heritage, Chicago, USA.
2. The collector was close friend of the artist while in Paris and the work was a personal gift from the artist. When the collector dies, the work is preserved by descendants in the family. At the same time, the work is attached with a Christie’s USA auction estimate receipt in 1989.
The item is held under the bonded status, for more details, please see the Notice on Auction of Bonded Lots.
Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita is the first oriental artist who succeeded in Europe in the 20th century. From traveling to Paris for education to having great reputations, from returning to Japan to say-ing hello again to Paris, he experienced many twists and turns. He befriended with Picasso, Marc chagall (Марк шагал), Modigliani and other giants of western art, and was in several typically French intimate relationships, all of which left traces in his works. Foujita went to Paris in 1913, at which time Paris was in a stable and prosperous period of art after World War I. At this time, he was active in the circle of painters on the left bank of the Seine, struggling to find his own position. Finally, by combining European classical painting with Japanese traditional painting, he successfully realized the transformation of techniques, and formed a strong personal style of mutual reflection between eastern and western cultures, which was all the rage.Naked woman is one of the most representative themes in Foujita’s early works. The naked woman with “milky skin” created by him with the inspiration of his wife Lucie Badoul and celebrity Kiki has the decorative interest of Japanese Ukiyoe paintings and the oriental aes-thetic tastes, which has caused a great sensation in Paris painting circles. As for the origin of creating naked woman, Foujita once said, “When I was about to create naked women, I had a new idea of discovering all the things that my predecessors had never discovered be-fore and opening up new horizons that my predecessors had never set foot in. Our ances-tors, such as Suzuki Harunobu and Kitagawa Utamaro, have painted skins of women. As a Japanese, I should follow the footsteps of my ancestors and continue describing skins of women.”
Foujita returned to Japan in 1939 after the start of World War II. “Bathing”, created in 1947, when Foujita was in Japan. Due to the change of social environment and his own mood, his works at this time no longer had bright decorative atmosphere, but payed more attention to story and reality. It can be seen from this painting that both composi-tion and shape are quite different from those of naked women in the 1920s and 1930s. In the painting, the naked woman is lying in a leisurely position on the sofa in front of the window. She seems to be bending her head to meditate. Her right hand is placed on her crotch, and she intentionally forms a graceful S-shaped curve by twisting her body. The windows and sofas in the background are simplified into geometric blocks of light blue and gray as well as thick black lines, which lack spatial perspective and depth of field and emphasize plane decoration. The figures in the foreground have an obvious three-dimensional sense. The painter paints with the delicate brush strokes of western classical oil painting and the light-color techniques of impressionism to depict the sexy but not pornographic body of women. There is a detailed greyscale rendering on the skin, showing the body characteristics of plump Parisian women with graceful figures. “Bathing” belongs to another realistic style of Foujita’s paintings of naked women, which implies the painter’s nostalgia for days in Paris.