Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Saturday, May 25, 2019 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Galerie Paul Pétridès, Paris
    Private Collection, Japan (acquired from the above between the late 1980s and early 1990s)
    Christie's, London, 28 June 2017, Lot 228
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Literature

    Sylvie and Dominique Buisson, Léonard-Tsuguharu Foujita: Volume 1, Paris, 1987, no. 26.24, p. 383 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the early twentieth century, bohemian culture flourished on the banks of the River Seine in Paris, drawing numerous artists from all over the world to congregate, forming a creative ethos which incubated the École de Paris and among these rich cultures and artistic inspirations saw the rise of Léonard-Tsuguharu Foujita. Arriving in Paris in 1913, Foujita became active in its art scene, fully absorbed into the swirling atmosphere of the Parisian Années Folles which saw his creative desire freed from some of the perceived constraints of Japanese artistic formality. His sensational breakthrough came in the form of his depiction of the nude, a traditional canon of Western art history yet having the delicacy of traditional Japanese aesthetics retained. His portraits of the female nude are in the permanent collection of numerous art museums and institutions around the world including Reclining Nude with Toile de Jouy at the National Museum of Modern Art, Paris and Reclining Nude with a Cat in the Museum of Modern Art, Saitama.

    Foujita’s exceptional synthesis and balance in the treatment of the subject is demonstrated beautifully in Nu aux bras léves. Employing pure colours to bring out the female figure’s striking features and creating smooth lines in a concise manner to construct her body figure, Foujita showcases his renowned technique of rendering the skin in a fine, ivory-like texture. The enchanting gaze and sensual poise of the female nude, complimented by the folds of the bed sheet, suggest a hint of erotica and lustful sentiment. Nu aux bras léves is a mesmerising version of the modern female nude, demonstrating Foujita’s brilliant draughtsmanship in weaving traditional Japanese aesthetics with a mastery of classical Western painting techniques within the composition and thus attracting the viewers into boundless imagination.


Nu aux bras levés

signed and dated 'Tsuguharu [in Kanji] Foujita 1926' lower left
pencil, watercolour and coloured crayons on tracing paper laid down on canvas
56.3 x 38.2 cm. (22 1/8 x 15 in.)
Executed in 1926, this work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by Sylvie Buisson.

HK$600,000 - 800,000 

Sold for HK$750,000

Contact Specialist
Isaure de Viel Castel
Head of Department, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Day Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 May 2019