The most beloved Japanese artist in Paris
Tsuguharu Foujita (1886-1968)
Foujita was born in Tokyo in 1886 and graduated from the Tokyo Fine Arts School (now Tokyo University of the Arts). At the age of 26, he moved to France by himself with aspirations of becoming a painter. After much trial and error, he developed his own painting style. In the 1920s, he became the darling of European Art World as well as the Ecole de Paris and garnered fame for what would become his signature work-- his nudes on “milky white ground”. During the World War Ⅱ, he became a war artist in Japan. After enduring backlash and a tarnished reputation in his post-war homeland, Foujita returned to France never to return and continued to work fervently while attaining serenity in his later years as a French citizen rechristened Léonard Foujita. He died in 1968 at the age of 81 and was buried in the Chapel of Our Lady Queen of Peace (or Foujita Chapel) in Reims. It was conceived and designed by the artist himself, and is famous for the frescos he painted in the interiors.
Little Girls, Cats, and the Virgin and Child
The Musée Ando à Karuizawa collection comprises some 180 Tsuguharu Foujita works collected over many years by founder and chairman of the museum, Yasushi Ando and his wife Megumi, who cherished and displayed Foujita’s paintings in their own residences in Tokyo. Mr Ando, the Founder and Chairman of the museum, devoted his life to the revitalization of many Japanese companies. The museum got its start when Mr & Mrs Ando first picked up a print at an art gallery in Karuizawa and became enamoured with the lovely cat depicted in it which prompted them to start building their collection. The collection covers a breadth of Foujita's work, including valuable early landscape paintings and Foujita’s signature milky white nudes, as well as handcrafted pieces such as furniture and tableware decorated by the artist himself, while lovingly focused on paintings of little girls, cats, and the Virgin and Child—the motifs the artist repeatedly returned to throughout his life. This is Japan’s only museum with a permanent exhibition devoted exclusively to Foujita.