Continuing on my walk around the block from my hotel, or rather my Résidence Hôtelière, I soon came upon the Chapelle Notre Dame de la Paix (Chapel of Our Lady of Peace), popularly known as Foujita’s chapel.
I don’t think I had ever even heard of the Japanese artist Tsuguharu Foujita (1886-1968) until I took a guided walking tour of the Montparnasse district of Paris in May 2013. One of the stops on our tour was Foujita’s atelier at 5, rue Delambre. Around 1920 Foujita was a prominent member of the wild artistic scene in Montparnasse, which included such artists as Picasso and Matisse and the sculptor Ossip Zadkine. Foujita became famous and wealthy as a painter of beautiful women and cats.
Fast forward to October 14, 1959. Foujita, now 72 years old, renounces his old philandering lifestyle, converts to Roman Catholicism and is baptized in Reims Cathedral, with the head of the Mumm Champagne Company serving as his godfather.
Later he and his godfather decide to build a small chapel on the grounds of the Mumm company. Foujita at age 80 spends several months painting the inner walls of the chapel with elaborate religious frescos, his last major work of art.
My ticket for the Reims Fine Arts Museum was also valid for the Foujita Chapel, so I went in and had a look. I found the frescos quite impressive, in a religious sort of way, but no photos were allowed so I can’t show you what they look like.
Location, aerial view and photo of Foujita’s chapel on monumentum.fr.
My photos in this post are from 2013. I revised the text in 2018.
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