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Indepth Arts News:

"Foujita. A Japanese Artist"
2003-08-31 until 2003-10-31
Fondazione Prada
Milan, , IT Italy

Under the auspices of the municipality of Milan, the Fondazione Prada and the Teatro alla Scala are organizing an exhibition entitled Foujita. A Japanese Artist at the Teatro alla Scala, to be held in the new Prada Epicenter, from 31 August to 31 October. The event is linked to the Teatro alla Scala's visit to Tokyo from 31 August to 17 September 2003, during which two operas by Giuseppe Verdi will be performed: Macbeth at the Bunka Kaikan Theatre and Otello at the NHK Theatre, both with the Scala's choir and orchestra conducted by Mo Riccardo Muti. Curated by Vittoria Crespi Morbio, the exhibition is intended to pay tribute to Foujita's work for the theatre, which, although still little known, is now being rediscovered and studied. For the celebrated production of Madama Butterfly at the Scala in 1951, the artist realized not only the costume drawings and set designs, but also all the details of the decorations; in addition, he chose the colours of the fabrics for the costumes. So successful was this version of the opera that it was staged on six occasions from 1952 to 1971.

The exhibition, designed by Pierluigi Cerri, will be housed in the Event Space on the sixth floor of the Prada Epicenter, which was conceived by Herzog & de Meuron and inaugurated last June. Constituting a foretaste of the celebrations planned for 2004 to mark the centenary of the first performance of Giacomo Puccini's famous opera (Teatro della Scala, 1904), the exhibition will include about thirty of the original costumes - made from hand-painted silk and thus extremely refined and delicate - from the production of Madama Butterfly in 1951.

In 1913 Foujita (Edogawa, Tokyo 1886 - Zurich 1968) moved to Paris, where he spent much of the rest of his life, earning the epithet 'the most Parisian of the Japanese painters'. A friend of other famous expatriate artists in Paris, such as Chaïm Soutine, Marc Chagall and Amedeo Modigliani, from 1925 he developed his own personal style in which he blended western elements with features of Japanese art, becoming well-known for his nudes and compositions combining still-life and figures. His works are to be found in the collections of many of the world's leading museums, including the British Museum in London, the Musée National d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

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