The life and works of Tsuguharu Foujita, also known as Léonard Foujita 藤田 嗣治

Discover Foujita and its relationship with France

Tsuguharu Foujita, born in Tokyo in 1886, is a unique Japanese artist. This renowned painter of the School of Paris with abundant works spent more than half of his life in France. Naturalized French citizen in 1955, he left an unclassifiable body of work; the subtle blend between his Japanese roots and modern European art.

Léonard Foujita, a new life in France


In 1955, he and his wife were naturalized French. The last part of his life and work is marked by a new faith. The couple converted to Catholicism in October 1959 during a baptismal ceremony at Reims Cathedral. Foujita, who had already chosen to renounce his Japanese nationality a few years earlier, will also give up his first name. He is now called Leonardo in homage to Leonardo da Vinci.

His religious paintings earned him an audience with Pope John XXII in Rome in April 1960 and the gold medal at the "1st Sacred Art Exhibition" the following year. He now lives and works in his home workshop in Villiers-le-Bâcle in Essonne.


The Chapel of Our Lady of Peace in Reims


From 1965, he devoted himself fully to a monumental and total work: the Notre-Dame de la Paix chapel in Reims. He designed the architecture and decoration (frescoes, ironwork, stained glass) of this chapel for peace. Inaugurated in October 1966, the "Foujita chapel" was donated to the city of Reims in 1967. The painter died on January 29, 1968, in Zurich.


The singular style of Léonard Foujita


Thanks to his singular art, at the crossroads between traditional Japanese art and Western masters, Foujita knew how to cross the great modernist currents of the beginning of the 20th century; fauvism, cubism, surrealism.

In 60 years of creation, he brilliantly and delicately depicted the Paris of the 1920s, landscapes and scenes from the Far East and South America, still lifes, the battlefields of the Second World War, like the holy texts of Catholicism.

Her diaphanous silhouettes on almost transparent backgrounds made her famous.


Foujita retrospective commemorating the 50th anniversary of the painter's death

  • The Museum of Fine Arts of Reims

Between 2013 and 2014, the heirs of Kimiyo Foujita (1886-1968) bequeathed more than 2,300 works (paintings, tempera on wood, art objects, stained glass windows, drawings, prints) to the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Reims. At the time, part of this legacy was exhibited as part of an exhibition commemorating the 100 years of the museum and retracing its history.

Since then, an entire room in the museum housed in the buildings of the former Saint-Denis abbey has presented Foujita's major works.

Address : 8 rue Chanzy - 51100 Reims

Telephone : 03 26 35 36 00

Opening hours: Open every day from 10 am to 12 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm. Closed on Tuesdays and on January 1, May 1, November 1, and December 25.

Access: by bus - lines 2, 4, and 5 - Opéra stop; by tram - lines A and B - Opéra stop

Price: €5 (combined ticket for the Fine Arts Museum and the Foujita Chapel)


The Museum of Fine Arts of Reims


  • The Chapel of Our Lady of Peace

Thanks to the patronage of his friend and baptismal godfather, René Lalou, president of the Reims champagne house Mumm, Foujita had a Romanesque-style chapel built in which he produced monumental frescoes inspired by the Italian Renaissance.

The painter and his wife Kimiyo, who died in 2009, are buried in the Notre Dame de la Paix chapel.

Address : 33 rue du Champ de Mars - 51100 Reims

Telephone : 03 26 35 36 00

Opening hours: Open every day from 10 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm from May 2 to September 30. Closed on Tuesdays.

Access: by bus - line 7 - Foujita stop; by tram - lines A and B - Schneiter stop

Price: €5/$5.75 (combined ticket for the Fine Arts Museum and the Foujita Chapel)


Interior of the Notre-Dame de la Paix chapel in Reims

Wikimedia Commons

  • The house studio, in the privacy of the painter

Since 2000, Foujita's last house workshop, donated to the Essonne department by his widow in 1991, has been open to the public as a center for studies on Foujita. This rural house acquired in 1960 served as the artist's studio until he died in 1968.

Restored and presented identically during Foujita's lifetime, the residence allows the visitor to enter the painter's intimacy.

Address : 7, route de Gif 91 190 Villiers-le-Bâcle.

Telephone :

Opening hours: Usual opening on Saturdays from 2 pm to 5 pm and Sundays from 10 am to 12:30 pm and from 2 pm to 5:30 pm. Visits by appointment during the week on Wednesday and Friday mornings.

Price: Free admission.





The Foujita house-workshop in Villiers le Bacle

wikimedia Commons


Foujita workshop house


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