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Leonard Foujita (1886 – 1968)
Title: Etude de Nus
Study of nudes
Medium: Original Lithograph, 1928, on paper, signed in the stone and by the artist in pencil and, in Japanese, in the stone
Size: 432 x 552 mms (Paper size); 340 x 310 mms (Image size)
References: Sylvia Buisson “Leonard-Tsuguharu Fujita – Volume II” Reference: B.II. 28:94
Note: This is a portrait, front and back, of the artists wife Youki Desnos. She was a colourful Parisian figure of the “Roaring Twenties” whose mission was to promote friendships amongst artists. She was a regular visitor to the fashionable Montparnasse bars and cafes such as Le Rotinde, La Couple, La Dome and Le Boeuf sur le Toit. The artists economic success allowed the couple to enjoy a lavish lifestyle living in a luxurious housed give weekly parties to their friends and clients. Yoke’s round, radiant face, sensual body and pale skin inspired many paintings and prints by the artist in the 1920’s in his highly individual style which combined western and Japanese traits. The painters favourite subjects were “reclining nude” and “two friends” (the latter being ours – although both are probably portraits of Youki). When Picasso met Youki he said to Foujita “She is even more beautiful then in your painting”. When they separated, Foujita said to Youki: “For you, it’s laughter. For me, silence.” She loved to be gay and loud : he preferred a quieter existence.