Guimet Museum - Asian Art National Museum, Paris
After the great war, Paris decided to live to the full : « After the stress, strain and anger…men lift up their heads once more, open their eyes and enjoy life. A frenetic desire to dance, to buy, to be able finally to walk heads held high, to cream, to howl, to throw money out of the windows. A furia of vital forces takes over the world », according to Fernand Léger. Artists from five continents meet in Montparnasse and a new generation of painters mingle on the terraces of the Dome and the Rotonde creating « the first colony of truly international artists in the history of the world, said Marcel Duchamp. Sanyu arrived in Paris when he was twenty years old. He belonged to a group of young Chinese painters who had been given scholarships to study in France organised by Cai Yuanpei, then President of Peking University, in tandem with the French authorities.
From 1929 onwards, Sanyu really began to paint nudes on canvas. These works can be seen in the two following galeries. Like Foujita, he depicts women horizontally placed against blocks of colour without giving any impression of depth. The Japanese painter fad devised his own technique for his nudes. First, he prepared the canvas to obtain a smooth milky surface on which he then drew with a very fine brush. It is likely that Sanyu drew inspiration from this, but used a thicker preparation, re-enforcing the outline of the drawing with a dark contour as he sought the perfect outline.