Seven Léonard Foujita (1886-1968) cat etchings (from his revered 'Les Chats' series) will be auctioned at Bonhams' next Prints and Multiples sale at London New Bond Street on 16 November, estimated at between £6,000-8,000 and £5,000-7,000 each.
Foujita was particularly fond of cats which are the symbol of good luck in Japan. The artist made them a primary focus for his blending of traditional Japanese painting and inking techniques with modern European composition and style. These seven examples, up for auction in Bonhams Prints Sale, come from Les Chats, a portfolio of ten images published by Les Editions Artistiques Apollo in 1930.
Robert Jones, Bonhams Prints Specialist said, "It is a rarity to find so many high quality Foujita etchings on the market - outside Japan it is exceptional. This is an exciting opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts alike."
Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita (1886-1968)
Born in Japan, Leonard Fujita studied western art at Tokyo School of Fine Arts before moving to Montparnasse, Paris in 1913. Renaming himself Léonard Foujita, the painter and printmaker became a steadfast member of the Paris School alongside artists such as Picasso, Modigliani and Matisse. Cutting an unusual figure in his spherical glasses, bowl-cut hairstyle and hooped earrings, the artist fitted easily into the avant-garde Montparnasse set.
Marrying east and west, Foujita applied Japanese painting and inking techniques to western style painting. The result was a huge success. Depictions of beautiful women and contorted cats brought both fame and fortune. The sensation of Paris at the Salon d'Automne in 1921, Foujita went on to receive the Belgian Order of Leopold, the French Légion d'honneur and a coveted position in the Pax Mundi (the League of Nations' attempt to keep the peace through art).
Having married and divorced three times, Foujita left France for Japan where he was welcomed as a celebrity. After years of work as a military propagandist during the war, he returned to Europe, converted to Catholicism (with the support of godparent Françoise Taittinger) and finally died aged 81 in Zurich, Switzerland.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
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