"Les années folles" de Montparnasse: paintings and graphic works of Jules Pascin and Léonard Foujita from French, Swiss, Belgian, and Russian museums and private collections.

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts launches a series of exhibitions of major masters of the School of Paris. The show “Les années folles” de Montparnasse” will follow the exhibition “The School of Paris” held at The Pushkin state Museum of Fine Arts in 2011–2012, which became, in a certain way, a “group portrait” of the masters of this artistic community. The term “School of Paris” was introduced by a French critic André Warnod, he called artists who came to Paris from various countries in the first half of the 20th century “masters of the School of Paris”. This artistic group includes Chaim Soutine, Marc Chagall, Amedeo Modigliani, Kees van Dongen, Constantin Brâncuși, Louis Marcoussis, Gino Severini and many others.  

In the early 20th century Paris was the international artistic and intellectual capital which attracted artists from all over the world and where the main movements of the new art were conceived. Affordable life, political freedoms, numerous studios, artistic academies, renowned teachers, salons, galleries, and museums turned Paris into a haven and a real school for the immigrant artists. The “Les années folles” de Montparnasse” exhibition will give an opportunity for the visitors to get to know the oeuvre of the two outstanding masters of the School of Paris – Jules Pascin and Léonard Foujita.   

It is not by chance that the curators took the decision to combine the works of Pascin and Foujita in terms of one show. Both masters were gifted graphic artists and painters, both moved to Paris in the beginning of their artistic life, both were fascinated by exotic travels. There are many convergences in their stylistic tastes as well, and the active interaction of their artistic personalities is obvious not only for art professionals, but also for art lovers.   

Jules Pascin (1885–1930), a painter and graphic artist, his early works were executed in the Art Nouveau aesthetics. He was born in Bulgaria, studied art in Austria and Germany, and was interested in editorial caricature. After moving to Paris, he elaborated his own expressive and emotionally loaded style. He is famous for his so-called “nacreous” manner: the artist achieved a sense of transparency by overlapping outlines and color spots. Pascin’s artistic legacy includes works on biblical and mythological themes, as well as numerous nudes. 

Léonard Foujita (1886–1968), a French painter and graphic artist of Japanese origins. Foujita managed to merge the methods and principles of Japanese culture and European traditions in the cosmopolite environment of Paris. His works have a subtle technique and are filled with romanticism. His pointed interest in details can be seen in numerous travel sketches and large-scale compositions, as well as in his famous nude works of the 1920s – 1930s. Foujita combines the mastery of a Japanese calligrapher and of a skillful European graphic artist. 

Both masters were given an equal amount of space on the first floor of the 19th and 20th century European and American art Gallery consecrated to their artworks. The exhibition features more than 40 pieces by each of the masters, which gives an opportunity for the visitors to get to know all the periods of their oeuvre. The exhibition rooms are set in a circular way, and the curators took the decision to use this space so that the visitors might enter the show from two sides and see the works of Jules Pascin at one side, and those of Léonard Foujita at another. 

The central room with works of Russian artists of the same period is, in a way, a connecting link. The aesthetics of Pascin and Foujita was interpreted in its own manner by the masters of the Russian “Quiet Art” of the 1920s – 1930s and reflected in their artworks. The French artists’ experience set their own experiments in motion. The visitors will see the artworks of the masters of the period between the World Wars – Daniil Daran, Nikolay Kuzmin, and others. The central part of the exhibition is dedicated to the works of Tatyana Mavrina. 
The exhibition is curated by a group of curators: a French researcher, art historian, expert on Léonard Foujita heritage Sylvie Buisson, and researchers and custodians from The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts Alexey Petukhov and Vitaly Mishin. The exhibition is organized with the support of a Parisian collector Benoît Sapiro.     

The exhibition features artworks from the Museum of Modern Art of the city of Paris, National Museum of Modern Art / National Center for Arts and Culture Geoges Pompidou (Paris), Society of Friends of Petit Palais (Geneva), The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, and other French, Belgian, Swiss, and Russiam major museums and private collections.  

November, 25. Concert – French music of the first half of the 20th century (Milhaud, Wiener, Poulenc, Satie, and others). 

Exhibition curators: 
Alexey Petukhov, senior research expert, Department of the 19th and 20th century European and American art of The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts 
Vitaly Mishin, leading research expert, Department of the 19th and 20th century European and American art of The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
Sylvie Buisson, expert on Léonard Foujita heritage at French Expert Union, author of catalogue raisonné of Léonard Foujita

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