Foujita was another painter who left us when his exquisite Japanese drawings attained a great vogue. But he came back to build a house and studio near the Parc Montsouris and to begin the nucleus of a new artists' colony ... Foujita was a lank-haired Japanese with gold-rimmed glasses. He brought an exotic note to the Quarter, and a whole school of Foujitas, their black hair carefully brushed smooth over their foreheads to their eyes, made their appearance. Sisley Huddleston, Bohemian Literary and Social Life in Paris.
Tsuguharu Foujita is mentioned in passing in Dreamhounds of London. Never a surrealist but a friend and colleague of surrealists, he drifts through Montparnasse like a benevolent, celebrated, cat-loving specter, before leaving France for Japan in 1933 where he became a minor celebrity and creator of war propaganda. He was, at root, the son of an aristocratic, militaristic father, whom he revered; his sympathies were naturally imperialist. Perhaps it's telling that he returned to France after the war and eventually obtained French citizenship; retreating from one failed imperial dream to De Gaulle's strong-state, French exceptionalism. Foujita died of cancer in 1968 and was eventually interred in Foujita Chapel, designed, decorated and built by him shortly before his death.
If there was one quality that disbarred him from membership of the surrealist circle, it was his financial success. His Modernist works were, and are, very popular. His collected art prints, the Book of Cats, published 1931, remains one of the most sought-after rare books in the world.
I never look at men, only at women - they have, each one such marvelous possibilities of beauty. But unfortunately most of them have not developed these possibilities because they have not learned the lessons cats can teach ... Cats never give anything away. They are out for what they can get. They have tigerish passions when aroused. They have grace, beauty of movement, intriguing languor ... Clever women live with cats ... They study the animal's movements, habits and emotional reactions ...
Dreamhounds are anathema to Dreamlands cats (p 116). Aggressive Dreamhounds are avoided even by earthly cats. Given that Foujita has a great love for cats (and that cats love him) either he cannot be a Dreamhound or, if he is, he spends all his time seeking out Dreamlands cats but never finding them. I lean towards Foujita being a dreamer in the usual sense - that is, he has a dream persona and it is not linked to his earthly form in the same way that the Dreamhounds can slip from waking world to dream without losing themselves.
Which brings me to a double-header, a Bookhounds/Dreamhounds scenario combination.
Since the scenario will be located in part in the Parc Montsouris, a brief description:
The Parc is one of Paris' four imperial parks created by Napoleon III, and inaugurated in 1875. There is a lake, wide, sloping lawns and a variety of trees. Allegedly the site was once home to a windmill, hence the name Montsouris, as in Moque-Souris (mocks the mice), a common nickname for windmills. The name may alternately derive from Ysore, a giant allegedly buried there; the burial story derives from a Roman cemetery, disused since the 4th century, that was on the spot.
Among its many features are an artificial lake, the malfunction of which allegedly caused the park's chief engineer to commit suicide; a wood-and-terracotta replica of the Palais du Bardo, a replica of the palace of the Bey of Tunis; a stone monument indicating the Meridian; a bronze statue memorializing the Revolution sculpted by Auguste Paris, to be melted down by the Germans in 1942. The Petite Ceinture railway runs through the park, and will continue to operate as a passenger service until 1934; it will run freight after 1934 for a time, but eventually the line that passes through the park will be altogether abandoned.
The site was previously a quarry and ossuary, devoid of greenery. Before work began, hundreds of skeletons had to be removed from the tunnels beneath the proposed park.
Hook: the Dreamhounds become aware that a strange new group of entities are appearing in the Dreamlands. Humanoid, conservatively dressed, always with black hair brushed smoothly over their foreheads, but otherwise featureless - their egg-smooth faces and mechanical movements betraying no emotion whatsoever. These creatures are most often seen in dream-Paris, in that section of the city where the Parc Montsouris can be found. They seem particularly fixated on the Palais du Bardo, which in dreams is a much larger and more forbidding edifice, guarded by One-Off Beasts who closely resemble armed hookahs, bristling with odd arms and glittering eyes. These Beasts do not allow anyone in, but the black-hair men take every opportunity to sneak across the threshold.
Truth: Foujita has established an art school near the Parc, but it is getting away from him. Many would-be followers are copying his personal style and character in hope of inspiration, rather than listening to what he has to say about the craft. This results in an outbreak of quasi-Orientalism, as Foujita's would-be disciples produce plenty of Japanese-inspired kitsch, none of which is any good.
Enter Pierre Beres of the Librarie Incidences. Foujita can't seem to get a grip on his would-be followers, but Beres knows how such incoherent energy can be channeled. Beres gets them creating Foujita prints, to be sold only to Americans and similarly clueless tourists. Beres regularly meets his clueless painters at the Parc near the Palais to make the exchange.
Complicating the issue is a persistent rumor that Foujita's famous Book of Cats exists in two forms: the book that everyone knows about, and a special, very limited series of ten with extra prints based on the artist's oneiric experiences. This may pique the Dreamhounds' interest, since Foujita is not known to be a dreamer.
In fact not only in Foujita a dreamer, his dream form is being drawn to the Parc as so much dream-energy is concentrating there. The black-haired men want to establish a shrine at the Palais, but the hookah-creatures are preventing them. If the hookahs can be dealt with the black-hairs soon infest the place like termites, forever creating a dark and unsettling edifice whose purpose must surely be malign.
In fact what they build is a kind of press, and their intent ultimately is to feed Foijita's dream form into it in order to create the variant Book of Cats. If this succeeds then the black-hair men vanish as mysteriously as they appeared, but a new artifact is created that can be taken into the waking world, and perhaps sold there.
Meanwhile Bookhounds across the water in London hear intriguing rumors about a new, valuable - extraordinarily valuable, in fact - book, and only Beres of the Librarie Incidences knows where it can be found. Or perhaps an unscrupulous Bookhounds might join forces with Beres to ensure it is "found" - and sold immediately to some unfortunate rube. Unfortunately for those poor Bookhounds powerful Dreamlands forces have taken an interest in this Book of Casts. Bast herself is rumored to be deeply interested in it, but there are other entities who claim to be as keen on obtaining it as the Goddess - for whatever reason they may have. The goblins, or Gobs, seem particularly interested, which is odd of itself. Surely those persistent grifters only deal in opium? Does that mean the Book possesses some kind of addictive quality, similar to opium?