Pastoral Redemption, Glimpses of Perfection André Bauchant + Foujita Ryuji

Pastoral Redemption, Glimpses of Perfection
André Bauchant + Foujita Ryuji

Saturday, April 16 - Sunday, July 10, 2022

Tickets can be purchased from HERE

Mondays (except May 2 and July 4)
10:00 am to 6:00 pm (8:00 pm on Fridays)
Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time.

Exhibition Overview

Deeply profound emotion slowly sinks in―――

André Bauchant (1873-1958) and Foujita Ryuji (1928-2002) created their respective works in different times and locations, one in early 20th century Europe, the other in late 20th century Japan, but both portrayed idyllic, pastoral scenes with an evident love of nature. Their pieces are full of longing for a world where humanity lives in harmony with nature, and remind us of the joy of viewing paintings, immersing ourselves in a world that celebrates color and shape. A total of 114 works, including their masterpieces, will be on display.
*Some pieces displayed will be changed during exhibition: first half: April 16 – May 29, second half: May 31 – July 10

André Bauchant, Madonna of the Artists, 1948, Private Collection (Cooperation: Galerie Taménaga)

Foujita Ryuji, The Day the Insects Awaken, 1986, Hoshino Gallery

Foujita Ryuji, Old-World Blooms, 1973, Private Collection

André Bauchant, Window, 1944, Private Collection (Cooperation: Galerie Taménaga)

Their Lives and Works

André Bauchant: from fledgling gardener to artistic marvel

André Bauchant made his debut in the art world at the age of forty-eight by exhibiting a number of paintings at the Salon d’Automne of 1921. He had started to paint seriously only a few years before, having spent much of his life up to that point working as a nurseryman.

Château-Renault in west-central France, where Bauchant was born in 1873, is a place far removed from the world of fine art. At the age of fourteen, he left school and began helping in his father’s horticultural business. He later started his own nursery and was doing well by the time he married a local woman, Alphonsine Bataillon, in 1900.

At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the call-up came to serve in the army. While he was away, his father-in-law died, his nursery business languished, and Alphonsine suffered a serious mental illness: one misfortune after another.

Demobilized in 1919, Bauchant moved with his wife to a forested area of their native region and started a new life. Now, for the first time, he took up a brush in earnest, pursuing a talent that had first manifested itself when he learned telemetry (drawing maps based on survey data) in the army. Each day, he would paint in the morning and labor in the fields to feed the family in the afternoon.

Following his debut at the Salon d’Automne in 1921, his career as an artist developed only slowly. His first solo show in 1927 nevertheless indicated a growing appreciation for his art; and, the following year, Sergei Diaghilev commissioned him to design sets for a production of his “Ballets Russes.” In this regard, Bauchant was following in the footsteps of such eminent artists as Picasso, Matisse, and Rouault. His reputation was fully established when the Galerie Charpentier, Paris mounted a major retrospective exhibition, bringing together 215 works, in 1949.

Throughout his career Bauchant painted as he pleased. His subjects ranged from landscapes, flowers, and the everyday lives of people to mythology and history — all bearing his characteristic style. His oeuvre amounts to a unique and singular vision of the world.

André Bauchant, Vase of Flowers by the River, 1946, Private Collection (Cooperation: Galerie Taménaga)

André Bauchant, In an Exotic Garden, 1950, Private Collection

André Bauchant, Charlatan of Tours Touting His Potions, 1944, Private Collection (Cooperation: Galerie Taménaga)

André Bauchant, Cleopatra Arriving in Tarsus to Meet Mark Antony, 1952, Private Collection

Foujita Ryuji : incredible perseverance through dire illness

The life of the painter Foujita Ryuji can be divided into two phases: before and after a serious illness that afflicted him around the age of fifty.

A native of Kyoto, where he was born in 1928, Foujita entered the Doshisha Engineering College (today’s Faculty of Science and Engineering at Doshisha University), but left without completing the course. For three years from 1951, he attended the Osaka Municipal Institute of Art, a school attached to the Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts, where he studied drawing from plaster casts and oil painting techniques.

In 1959, his work was selected for the first time for exhibition by the Bijutsu Bunka Kyokai (Art and Culture Association). Two years later, he became a member of the association, which served as the hub of Foujita’s creative activities until his death. In his thirties and forties, he was very active producing works and frequently held solo shows.

Works dating from the first phase of his career have an illusory quality, employing indeterminate motifs that seem to clash with each other. While having the qualities of abstract painting, these uncanny images, depicting forms that swarm and mingle together, sometimes also suggest mountain landscapes rendered in a Surrealist manner.

In 1976, at the age of forty-eight, Foujita suffered a cerebral thrombosis, followed a year later by another stroke. Although an operation saved his life, he was left permanently paralyzed on the right side of his body. Robbed of the ability to use his dominant hand, he abandoned his career as a painter at this point. It is said that he disposed of most of the paintings he kept or was working on.

After a time, however, he picked up his brush again, now using his left hand. And, in sharp contrast to his previous works, he began to paint pastoral scenes that conveyed a feeling of familiarity and nostalgia: fields, low hills, mountains, an idyllic view down a winding path, as well as railways, factories, a lighthouse, and so forth.

Despite the radical change of style, one motif maintained a stubborn presence in his works: foxtail grass, an endemic wild species. Having learnt the hard way about life’s sufferings, Foujita continued to paint the tough foxtail, which resolutely raises its stalk no matter how often it is trampled down — very likely an expression of his desire to celebrate, or venerate, life.

Foujita Ryuji, Such a Big House, 1986, Hoshino Gallery

Foujita Ryuji, An Old Tree Remains, 1985, Private Collection

Foujita Ryuji, “Gunkan (Warship)” Apartment Block, Osaka, 1990, Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts

Foujita Ryuji, Quiet Town, 1997, Private Collection


Admission Fees
Adults: 1,300 yen
High-school and University students: 1,100 yen
Junior high-school students and younger: Free
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· Persons with disability certificate or similar receive a 100 yen discount, and one accompanying helper is admitted free.
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Tokyo Station Gallery (East Japan Railway Culture Foundation)