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    LÉONARD TSUGUHARU FOUJITA (1886–1968) – Classe de chats  ‘Foujita 1949  COURTESY CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LIMITED 2023

    The first private museum in Japan dedicated to the works of Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita has been helped by the private sales department at Christie’s in New York to acquire a major picture by the artist. Classe de chats is on display in the Ando Museum of Art in Karuizawa, Japan until September 12 next 2023 as part of the exhibition Tsuguharu Foujita: Room for Cats and Girls.

    Cats played an important role for Foujita on a personal level and in his art. He depicted them with tenderness on their own, as companions in portraiture, and later in life as anthropomorphic animals in lively scenes. Animals with humanlike qualities had populated the myths of his childhood, and are famously depicted in ukiyo-e prints by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, but also from Western sources, such as La Fontaine’s Fables. Classe de chats ranks among the masterpieces Foujita painted during his one-year stay in New York in 1949. A New York paper declared then that: “No living artist can depict cats in action whilst capturing such variety of expression.”

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