Léonard Foujita (Fujita Tsuguharu)

1886、Tokyo ― 1968、Zurich
Born 1886 (Meiji 19) to a family of a medical officer at Shin-Ogawamachi, Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo. Following the advise of Mori Ōgai who was a superior to Foujita’s father, Foujita entered the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (now Tokyo University of the Arts). Not fully satisfied with the main trend of bright pleinairisme-style paintings, Foujita found himself in France at the age of 26 in 1913.
In 1929, Foujita returned temporarily to Japan for the first time in 16 years to attend the exhibition celebrating his triumphant return. He continued his activities in Japan after 1933. When the Sino‐Japanese war started, with the intention to contribute to his own country, he concentrated in painting large-sized war paintings. Such activities were harshly criticized after the war by the art circles accusing him as a collaborator of the war. Foujita left Japan taking responsibility of such activities.
Returning to Paris with the intention of never going back to Japan, Foujita acquired French nationality in 1955. In 1959 at the age of 72, Catholic Church baptized Foujita at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims and christened Léonard. In his later years, wanting to show the gratitude to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims, he intended a construction of a chapel, la chapelle Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix (also known as the Foujita Chapel). He died two years after the completion of the chapel.