A graduate of the Tokyo University of the Arts, Leonard Tsuguharu Foujita is best known for his etchings and Western style art. Following his graduation in 1910, he married and they moved to Paris shortly thereafter. While Foujita was living in Paris, he quickly made many new friends with fellow artists such as and Fernand Léger, Chaim Soutine, Amedeo Modigliani, Juan Gris, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Leonard Foujita soon became the envy of many when he opened his first studio in Montparnasse. Several famous models would pose for him there. Among them was Kiki, Man Ray’s very liberated lover whom Foujita painted multiple portraits of her.
Following his 1918 exhibition, Leonard Foujita began to receive acclaim for his paintings of women and cats with his own personal technique. In 1922 at the Salon d’Automne, Foujita’s portrait of Kiki titled “Reclining Nude with Toile de Jouy” was a big sensation in Paris. Leonard Foujita was one of the few artists who was able to successfully make money in his early years. He also received the Belgian Order of Leopold and the Legion of Honor from the French Government.
By the early 1930’sLeonard Foujita had been married and divorced three times and he decided to travel to Latin America where he had many successful exhibitions. He returned to Japan during World War I and then moved back to Paris following the war. Foujita’s last major piece was the design, building and decoration of the Foujita chapel in Reims, France. He passed away on January 29, 1968 of cancer.