Lot 1008
  • 1008

LÉONARD TSUGUHARU FOUJITA | Jeune fille dans l’atelier de l’artiste

3,800,000 - 4,800,000 HKD
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  • Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita
  • Jeune fille dans l’atelier de l’artiste
  • signed in English
  • oil on canvas
  • 35.9 by 27.6 cm; 14 ⅛ by 10 ⅞ in. 
executed circa 1951


Sotheby's, New York, 11 November 1992, Lot 298
Important Private European Collection


Taipei, Galerie Nichldo, Foujita and the School of Paris, 21 May - 16 July 2016


Sylvie & Dominique Buisson, Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita Vol. II, ACR Edition, Paris, 2001, plate 51.204, p. 413


The work is overall in good and its original condition, except for hairline craquelures throughout the surface. There is no sign of restoration under UV light examination.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

The Artist’s Ideal of Youthful Purity

In 1930, Foujita concluded his first Paris period, and set upon a series of travels around the world. This continued until the 1950s, when the artist returned to Paris, and began the work of his second Paris period. Paris at the time was already slightly changed from when the artist had been there previously, and with several more years to his age, Foujita’s paintings had also taken on an entirely different style. Foujita in the 1950s shifted the focus of his passions from nude women to the depiction of children. Although Foujita had no children of his own, the artist enjoyed playing with young children, and was interested in depicting their aura of innocence and purity. The artist was also fond of making small toy puppets by hand, which he kept by his side, perhaps as a sort of consolation for the lingering trauma after the war. The lot on offer at this evening sale, Jeune fille dans l’atelier de l’artiste (Lot 1008), features a young girl as its subject. The youthful girl in the painting exudes a charming innocence, while also possessing the elegance characteristic of traditional portrait paintings. It is worth noting that this work is from the artist’s unusual “painting within a painting” series. It is a rare masterpiece from an iconic period of the artist’s career.

The girl depicted in Jeune fille dans l’atelier de l’artiste has appeared numerous times in Foujita’s paintings with young girls as their subjects. The composition features the young girl standing directly in front of the just-completed portrait by the artist, her eyes gazing forward with a grace and charm that exudes spiritual purity. Looking at the easel, the brushes placed upside down in the ceramic container, one can deduce that the scene of this painting is Foujita’s studio. The use of colour in this piece also showcases the bright colours characteristic of this period of the artist’s career. The girl’s skin is rosy with a bright lustre, and exhibits the artist’s iconic style of the 1920s. Although he had switched from nude women to young girls as his subjects, one nevertheless recognizes the ivory, translucent skin common to his portrayal of human subjects. The young girl, under Foujita’s tender and gentle eye, is depicted in all of her charm and purity, drawing the viewer in under its spell. By this time, the artist had depicted human subjects for many years, and his rendering of lines had already reached virtuosic heights. Jeuene fille dans l’atelier de l’artiste is rich not only in its composition, it includes all of the artist’s iconic techniques in one work. For these reasons, it is a rare painting, indeed.