- 95,00 kr
The first biography in English of the Japanese artist who was a central figure in the dazzling artistic milieu of 1920s Paris
When we think of expatriates in Paris during the early decades of the twentieth century, certain names come to mind: Hemingway, Picasso, Modigliani—and Foujita, the Japanese artist whose distinctive works, bringing elements of Japanese art to Western oil painting, made him a major cultural figure in 1920s Montparnasse. Foujita was the only Japanese artist to be considered part of the "School of Paris," which also counted among its members such prominent artists as Picasso and Modigliani. Noteworthy, too, was Foujita's personal style, flamboyant even for those flamboyant times. He was best known for his drawings of female nudes and cats, and for his special white color upon which he could draw a masterful line—one that seemed to outline a woman's whole body in a single unbroken stroke.
With the advent of the Second World War, Foujita returned to Japan, where he allied himself with the ruling Japanese militarists and painted canvases in support of the war effort. After Japan's defeat, he was scorned for his devotion to the military cause and returned to France, where he remained until his death in 1968. Acclaimed writer and translator Phyllis Birnbaum not only explores Foujita's fascinating, tumultuous life but also assesses the appeal of his paintings, which, in their mixture of Eastern and Western traditions, are memorable for their vibrancy of form and purity of line.
Birnbaum (Modern Girls, Shining Stars, the Skies of Tokyo) tackles the perplexing story of Fujita Tsuguharu, known as Foujita, the eccentric and controversial Japanese painter who achieved success in the West during the early decades of the 20th century. Born in 1886, Foujita studied art in Japan, but at the age of 27 moved to Paris, where he gained fame for his paintings especially exotic cats and female nudes rendered in exquisite black lines against white backgrounds combining Eastern and Western artistic traditions. He was equally well known for his wild behavior and flamboyant dress. But in 1940, inexplicably, he moved back to Japan and produced art works promoting its military ambitions, for which he was reviled after the war by his countrymen. Claiming he was being persecuted by the Japanese, he returned to the West in 1949 and managed to salvage his reputation before he died in France in 1968. Basing her biography on letters, archival material and interviews with people who knew Foujita, Birnbaum presents an engrossing account of his life but is unable to shed much light on his reversals of allegiance. The result is an incomplete picture of this inscrutable artist. 24 pages of b&w illus.