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Tsugouharu Foujita

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Tsugouharu Foujita

by Ida Kar
quarter-plate film negative, 1954
Purchased, 1999
Photographs Collection
NPG x133281

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Ida Kar (1908-1974), Photographer. Artist associated with 1567 portraits, Sitter in 137 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Bill Hopkins wrote of Kar's photograph: 'Foujita's delicacy of line and colour gives the only clue to his curious passion for puppets, which he claims he “loves beyond all human beings. Here he is surrounded by them; many of them are period curios.'

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Freestone, Clare (appreciation) Wright, Karen (appreciation), Ida Kar Bohemian Photographer, 2011 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 10 March to 19 June 2011), p. 78 Read entry

    The Japanese artist Foujita moved to Montparnasse in Paris in 1913. There he frequented artists' cafes, became friends with Picasso and Matisse and was acquainted with Modigliani, Soutine and Léger. Man Ray's model Kiki was a frequent visitor to his first studio and posed for the painter. His work married Eastern and Western styles and by the mid-1920s had been exhibited worldwide. Foujita returned to Paris after spending the war years in Japan. In 1955 he became a French citizen and he converted to Catholicism in 1959. Bill Hopkins wrote of Kar's photograph of the sixty-eight-year-old artist, 'Foujita's delicacy of line and colour gives the only clue to his curious passion for puppets, which he claims he "loves beyond all human beings". Here he is surrounded by them; many of them are period curios.' Photographed with a quarter-plate camera, this portrait was enlarged to 48 x 39 inches when a print was later shown at the Whitechapel.

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Events of 1954back to top

Current affairs

Roger Bannister runs the four-minute mile. Bannister was the first man to achieve the 'miracle mile', a feat that was thought by some to be impossible, beating his rival, the Australian John Landy, to the record. Bannister went on to a career as a distinguished neurologist.
Food rationing ends in Britain.

Art and science

J.R.R. Tolkien publishes the first two parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. Tolkien was an Oxford professor of Anglo-Saxon language and literature and drew on his scholarly interests in history, language and mythology to create the fictional land of Middle Earth where the books are set.
Williams Golding publishes, Lord of the Flies.

International

The South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) is established in Bangkok. This international defence organisation was established as part of the 'containment' policy of limiting the influence of communism. SEATO was, however, found to be ineffective as the member organisations failed to agree on combined action; it was disbanded in 1977.

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