The World of Children: Foujita, Picasso, and other artists from the Collection

Jun.5 (Sat), 2004 – Jan.10 (Mon), 2005
Many images of children can be found in European paintings from antiquity onward. Religious works depict the Mother and Child, or children as angels, a symbol of salvation. Members of the royal and aristocratic houses of Europe also commissioned portraits of their children. Then, with the coming of modern age, the subject of children became a new and focused theme for painters. With the collapse of aristocratic society, members of the citizenry and working classes rose to power. After creating image of children as important members of the family, painters were often called upon to create images of a prosperous household, with children playing and enjoying themselves in a blessed family life. The Impressionist painters of the nineteenth century, including Monet and Renoir, developed a method for depicting the beauty and life of nature as seen beneath bright sunlight, and they also turned their gentle gaze upon the activities of children. From the end of the nineteenth century through the twentieth century, painters such as Bonnard, Picasso, and Foujita all pursued the potential for expression found in the subject of children.

The Pola Museum of Art, opened to the public in September 2002, displays a standing exhibition that introduces the museum’s holdings overall, and also holds special exhibitions which feature some special theme. This exhibition focuses on images of children seen in the works of Foujita, Picasso, and others, as it introduces the many guises of children found in the museum collections. Of special note are the works here on public display for the first time, namely portraits of children and the Petits Métiers et Gagne Petit, a series of humorous oil paintings depicting children involved impersonating the trades by Léonard Foujita, renowned as an Ecole de Paris painter.