Léonard-Tsuguharu Foujita - Les deux religieuses - image-1

Lot 336 D

Léonard-Tsuguharu Foujita - Les deux religieuses

Auction 1090 - overview Cologne
31.05.2017, 18:00 - Modern Art
Estimate: 18.000 € - 22.000 €
Result: 21.080 € (incl. premium)

Léonard-Tsuguharu Foujita

Les deux religieuses

Mixed media on paper 36.9 x 27.2 cm Framed under glass. Signed 'T. Foujita' in India ink lower left and additionally signed in Japanese characters with the first name 'TSUGUHARU'. Signed 'T. Foujita' also in India ink verso lower left and additionally signed, dated and inscribed '1920 FOUJITA TSUGUHARU PARIS' in Japanese characters. - Circumferential black paper adhesive tape to margins verso, partially visible on the recto.

A few years after moving from Japan to Paris in 1913, Foujita began to become more interested in Christian iconography. This can be recognised in the numerous images of Christ and Mary created between 1917 and 1920. Beyond this, however, he also devoted attention to depictions of nuns in a cloistered context, such as “Les Trois Religieuses”, “Les Trois Novices”, “Les Religieuses” and “Les Deux Religieuses” (Buisson 18.03, 18.04, 18.15, 18.127), which are thematically closely related to the present image.
All of these religiously inspired works share an idiosyncratic interweaving of Christian and Far Eastern aesthetics. In our symmetrically constructed composition, an older nun and a young novitiate sit opposite one another in the court of a seemingly Romanesque cloister. Ingeniously situated, they are simultaneously turned towards and away from each other. The arrangement of the elongated figures with the two-dimensional articulation of their drapery's folds is clearly influenced by the Japanese art of the polychrome woodcut, and the surface of the ground is reminiscent of a Zen garden. Foujita has placed particular value on the meticulous reproduction of the drapery's folds: the fine white lines are neither painted nor scratched out of the black paint, instead, they represent the areas masterfully left blank in the ink painting.
In later years Foujita's continuing occupation with Christian thought would culminate in his conversion to Catholicism; he was baptised in Reims in 1959.

The present work has been requested for the exhibition "Foujita et les très riches heures du Montparnasse" dated 1 March - 22 July 2018 at Musée Maillol, Paris.

Catalogue Raisonné

Not recorded with Buisson


With a photo-certificate from Sylvie Buisson, Paris, dated 18 April 2016. The work will be included in the 4th volume of the catalogue raisonné (archive no. D20.033 H).


Privat possession, Baden-Württemberg