Back to the Future: How to access stories on the Dance Insider & Arts Voyager

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If you have a lemon tree, make art: Foujita in Montparnasse

foujita lemon pickers small

As an illustrator, Kees Van Dongen can’t be beat. (Check his ethereal covers of Proust’s gossamer ladies for Folio’s editions of “Remembrance of Things Past.”) But I just can’t see what makes “The Tall Doe in Black Stockings,” a 40 x 32 inch oil of a thin naked flapper painted in 1922-23, worth between 1.2 and 1.6 million Euros, Artcurial’s pre-sale estimate for tonight’s Impressionist and Modern auction in Paris. So if you’re looking for a representative of the Montparnasse epoch of the School of Paris — in all its international splendor — we propose instead Léonard Tsuguharu Foujita (1886 – 1968), whose 1918 “The Lemon Pickers,” an 18 1/4 x 12 inch watercolor, ink, and gold and silver leaf on paper, is estimated at a paltry 100,000 – 150,000 Euros. Not just for its intrinsic value, but because Foujita, born in Japan and artistically flowered in France, in the hybrid nature of his oeuvre defies the false debate current among some French pundits between “multi-culturalism” and “national identity,” demonstrating that far from being antithetical, they have forged the synthesis that is the cosmopolitan French and Parisian culture. Signed in French and in Japanese (of course) at lower right. Image courtesy and copyright Artcurial.

Content, A; Concept, C; Critic, C- : Ghosts in the Machine for Artcurial’s ‘Paris, Atelier du Monde’ Auction

smfall Paris artcurial cocteau 23Jean Cocteau (1889 – 1963), “La leçon d’anesthésie,” 1951. Oil on canvas, 24.02 x 18.11 inches. Signed with the initial and dated upper right. Originally a gift to Jean Marais, Cocteau’s muse. Artcurial pre-sale estimate: 6,000 – 8,000 Euros. Image copyright and courtesy Artcurial.

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2017 Paul Ben-Itzak

To receive the complete, lavishly illustrated article, with art by Cocteau, Pascin, Braque, and others, subscribers please contact publisher Paul Ben-Itzak at paulbenitzak@gmail.com. Not a subscriber? Subscribe to the DI for just $29.95/year by designating your PayPal payment in that amount to paulbenitzak@gmail.com, or write us at that address to learn how to pay by check. Subscribers receive full access to our Archive of 2,000 exclusive reviews and other articles by 150 leading critics of performances, films, and exhibitions on five continents from 1998 through 2015. You can also purchase a complete copy of the Archive for just $49 (individuals) or $99 (institutions) Contact Paul at paulbenitzak@gmail.com.