An Architect’s Journey:

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Photographs of Japan, 1905

In 1905, as his Oak Park practice flourished, Frank Lloyd Wright traveled abroad for the first time in his life. In contrast to many of his architectural contemporaries, who traveled to see the sights of Europe, the center of Western architecture, Wright took an extended three-month journey to Japan. Traveling with his wife, Catherine, and Word and Cecilia Willits, his clients from Highland Park, Illinois, Wright would spend his time in Japan visiting significant historical sites and collecting the woodblock prints with which he had become so enamored in the 1890s. […]

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A Quickening Inspiration:

Frank Lloyd Wright and the Japanese Print

A pioneer collector and dealer of Japanese prints, Wright’s interest in the art and culture of Japan was sparked early in his career during his Chicago years. Wright’s first employer in the city, Joseph Lyman Silsbee, was an avid collector of Japanese art. Silsbee’s cousin, Ernest Fenollosa, was one of the first Western experts in East Asian art and literature, serving as Professor of Philosophy at Tokyo University, Curator of the Imperial Museum of Japan, and Curator of Oriental Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Silsbee introduced Wright to the Japanesque Shingle style of architecture that informed Wright’s earliest residential designs, including his own home built in Oak Park in 1889. Photographs of the home, taken by Wright in the 1890s, reveal Japanese prints and objects displayed throughout the interiors. […]

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