Léonard-Tsuguharu Foujita - Porte d'Arcueil - image-1

Lot 275 D

Léonard-Tsuguharu Foujita - Porte d'Arcueil

Auction 1004 - overview Cologne
30.11.2012, 00:00 - Modern Art
Estimate: 18.000 € - 20.000 €
Result: 21.960 € (incl. premium)

Oil on canvas 38.3 x 46 cm, framed. Signed 'T. Foujita' lower left in Japanese and Latin, on reverse also titled and dated bilingually 'Porte d' Arcueil - Paris - 1918' in black brush. - Slight craqueleur in the upper right part of the sky, isolated loose areas stabilised.

The painting has been requested for a traveling exhibition of Foujita's works in Japan in 2013/2014, which will be curated by Sylvie Buisson.
In 1913 at the age of 28, Foujita moved from Japan to Paris, where he settled in Montparnasse. The elegant and eccentric Japanese artist was welcomed enthusiastically and was soon celebrated as a dazzling figure in the art world - it being the time of exoticism and a certain “imagerie japonaise.” Foujita soon became acquainted with the artists of the École de Paris, especially Modigliani and the circle of Cubists surrounding Picasso, which gladly had him in its midst. When the First World War broke out, it was the great vigour of the avant-garde that kept Foujita in France and prevented him from returning to Japan. In 1917, he had his first solo exhibition in Paris in the Galerie Chéron, where he exhibited 110 drawings and watercolours. In these years, he rarely painted with oils, this being a technique that he considered purely “occidental.” In the following year, Foujita again had the opportunity to exhibit in the Galerie Chéron. The mixture of traditional Japanese and contemporary European styles displayed in his works made them particularly fascinating for the Western audience. At that time, Foujita painted, above all, somewhat Manneristic portraits of young women and scenes of urban Paris.

The painting “Porte d'Arcueil” shows the eponymous Parisian city gate covered in snow. The gate constitutes the foreground at a slight diagonal. Its three arches contribute to an almost arabesque-like movement within the picture and at the same time connect the foreground with the background. The two mounds of snow on each side are compositionally important elements, leading deep into the picture with their rhythmic momentum. Through his very painterly, richly nuanced use of colour and his countless tones of grey, Foujita creates a link between the sky and the foreground. The picture transports a world of silence - the desolate landscape buried under a soft cushion of snow. The landscape seems boundless and, in spite of its shroud of grey, is saturated with an immaterial, opaque light. This picture is a distinctive example of a rendering of space created by an artist capable of deep sensitivity. Nothing was more urgently longed for than the end of the war.


With a photo-certificate by Sylvie Buisson, Paris, dated 16 July 2012. The painting is registered in the archive under the no. "D.18.164.H" and will be included in the 4th volume of the catalogue raisonné.