PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE ASIAN COLLECTION
Fileuse et jeune fille au chien (Lot 1020) is a rare masterpiece from Foujita's first few years in France. The special diptych form of this painting features two vertical rectangular oil paintings that form a complete tableau side-by-side. This approach not only recalls the style of multi-panelled Asian screens but also bears a connection to the diptych works of the European Middle Ages, which developed from the tradition of altarpieces. A stage with curtains open forms the background of this painting, imbuing it with the charm of a children's story and giving the viewer the impression of a mountain cave tucked away within countless ravines. Compared with the following item, Madonne à la Grotte (Lot 1021), it is evident that the two artworks have much in common. The former features two seated women, peacefully at work spinning silk. Beside them, a hunting dog lies at rest, protecting the two maids with a dignified air. The flattened space and precise, exquisite lines produce an effect similar to that of Japanese ukiyo-e woodcuts. The construction of the subjects and the scene in Fileuse et jeune fille au chien meticulously downplays its contemporaneity while emphasizing its timelessness, unexpectedly evoking the limpid quality of Fra Angelico's masterpiece, The Annunciation. In October 2013, the Akita Museum of Art in Japan, which was established half a century ago, celebrated the opening of its new building with an exhibition titled Tsuguharu Foujita’s 1930s. Of the fifty-four artworks exhibited, the vast majority came from public museums in Tokyo, Kyoto, Gifu, and Akita, as well as major institutional collections including that of the Asahi Shimbun. Fileuse et jeune fille au chien was the only oil painting from a private collection to be included in the exhibition, and moreover, it was featured at the front of the catalogue with additional research and a special introduction, demonstrating the museum-grade collection value of this painting.
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