Tsuguharu Foujita was born in Tokyo in 1886. He is the son of a medical general in the Japanese army. He grew up in a cultured family and he was learning French while studying Western painting at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts. In 1913 Foujita embarked on a long sea crossing to Marseilles before reaching the capital.

In contact with the greatest creators such as Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, Henri Matisse or Fernand Léger, Foujita become quickly successful painter, etcher and lithographer during the Great War. In 1917, his first exhibition showcasing one hundred and ten watercolors in a half-Japanese, half-Gothic genre was a triumph. The man who henceforth called himself Leonard Foujita entered the closed circle of leading artists and became a reference. In 1924, he painted Youki, the goddess of the snow, for the Salon d’Automne. Decorated with the Legion of Honor in 1925, Léonard Foujita is a melting-pot of different cultures. In 1930, he painted four famous pictures: The Salon at Montparnasse, The Lion tamer, Three women and The Triumph of Life over Death.

After spending several years in Latin America, he decided to return to Japan in 1933. Caught up in the turmoil of war, he supported his country’s militaristic action, both through his paintings such as Senso-ga (or The Battle of the Khalka River) and his personal involvement. But, in 1945, he was able to move closer to the United States in order to pursue his career in the West. Foujita exhibited in New York and in Paris in the early 1950s. Having obtained French nationality in 1955, Léonard Foujita produced some remarkable works, such as the Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix chapel in Reims, which bears his name. His death in Zurich in 1968 put an end to several decades of a rich and fascinating life as an artist between East and West.