• Kyodo


The body of Leonard Tsuguharu Foujita, a painter based in France dubbed a darling of the School of Paris paintings, was buried Monday in the northern city of Reims, more than 30 years after his initial burial in a Paris suburb.

Foujita, who died in Zurich in 1968, spent his later years working on the frescoes inside what became known as Foujita chapel — La chapelle Foujita — in Reims. The Foujita family worked to bring the painter’s body for reburial in Reims after his 93-year-old widow, Kimiyo, discovered five years ago that he had wished to be buried in the chapel.

“I intend to be laid to rest in the chapel (to which) I have dedicated my final years,” Foujita wrote in his diary on Nov. 2, 1964.

About 30 people attended the burial ceremony, including Reims Mayor Jean-Louis Schneiter. Foujita’s widow, who lives in Tokyo, was too ill to travel to France for the service.

As Foujita’s remains were laid to rest in the chapel crypt, a priest from the chapel offered prayers and Schneiter spoke in appreciation of the artist’s work, saying Foujita’s work strengthened cultural and friendly relations between Japan and France. Foujita worked in Paris during the 1920s and befriended Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso and other famed painters.

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